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This Sunday’s sermon addressed Jesus’ discussion of judging in Matthew chapter 7. I argued that instead of taking Jesus’ declaration against judging as absolute, we need to see it as a reminder to engage in self-examination and to be careful when we scrutinize others.

This is something I need to take to heart.

For some time I’ve been playing on a recreational co-ed soccer team. A couple months ago two teenagers from Central America (exchange students) were thrown on our team to even out the numbers in the league.

For the most part, they are pretty good players. But one thing has consistently bothered me about them: they stay on the field too long. We have the equivalent of two shifts of players and when people stay on the field too long, the players sitting on the bench miss more of the game.

I don’t know why they do this. Maybe it is because they are young and have lots of energy and don’t want to come off till they are tired. Maybe in terms of soccer in Central America, they are taking extremely short shifts. And maybe they don’t hear our encouragements to come off the field: it is pretty clear that there is a language barrier.

Now for a month or so I’ve been griping about their shifts. Sometime hailing them to switch off, mostly complaining to those on the bench. I was doing the same last night. I was pretty sure that one of the guys stayed on while every other person on the team had rotated on and off.

But then somehow, I realised that they weren’t the only ones engaging in ‘selfish’ behaviour.

I’ve been consistent in making sure I’m on the field at the start of every game. I like to think that I do this because my energy is the best at the beginning. But the bigger reason is that I’m impatient. I’ve been itching to get on the field, and don’t want to be left waiting on the sidelines for my chance to substitute on.

I wonder if those guys I’ve been complaining about have noted my behaviour. Come to think of it, I don’t they’ve ever been on the field for the first shift. Maybe they are talking to their friends about this selfish old team-mate who always puts himself first.

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