Being critical of others will humble us when we better understand why people do what they do.
I was reminded of this in a humbling moment a few weeks ago. I discovered a robin building her nest ON TOP of a birdhouse I had put up for my feathered friend’s convenience.
A nest not IN the birdhouse, but ON TOP of it.
What a dope, I thought. A true bird-brain if there ever was one. Here was this nice stylish clay-pot birdhouse, used since colonial times to furnish protection from the elements and predators, and this bird turns up her nose at it. I hate to be critical of others, but really now, how ungrateful. It’s a beautiful birdhouse offering everything a bird could want in a safe nesting location.
Looking out the window at the bird building her nest I said to Janet, “I can’t imagine why that Robin is building a nest ON TOP of the birdhouse, and not IN it. What a dumb bird!”
Janet came over to look at what I was watching and astutely offered an explanation. “Oh, the opening in the birdhouse is too small for the robin.”
“Oh, come on. She could fit if she just wiggled and squirmed a little. What’s wrong with her?”
But as the days wore on and I watched more closely, I could see Janet was right. The opening was too narrow. Only a smaller bird like a sparrow or wren could fit in that opening.
Each day as the bird built her nest, she seemed to grow larger and larger. Eventually she gave birth to quadruplets. No wonder. I named them Paul, Ringo, George, and John.
And her offspring were no premies, either. They seem to grow an inch each day. I have no idea how all 4 of them, plus the mother robin, could fit in that nest. They certainly would never have made it inside the birdhouse I provided.
Janet and I marveled at how the mother robin fed her babies, and how exhausting it must have been to hunt for worms and fly then into the nest for each one of them. Not to mention finding food for herself. I would have ordered out.
I still don’t understand how they all got water, and then there’s the bathroom issue. We won’t even go there. This all reminded me of what Jesus said in Matthew 6:26, “Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?”
I find it easier to marvel at the caring qualities of God than to wonder about my critical spirit. For how I initially criticized the robin for not properly using the birdhouse is how I view people more often than I care to admit. Being critical of others not doing things the way I would does nothing to enhance relationships.
As comforting as Matthew 6:26 is, I need to be kicked in the pants more with Luke 6:37, “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.”
How about you? Do you ever find yourself being critical of people and judging them, only to discover later there were legitimate reasons for why they did what you initially criticized? Please don’t tell me I’m the only one.
Better we humble ourselves before others do it for us.
There's more to come next Wednesday. In the meantime, you can browse below through all 3 seasons and 67 episodes of You Were Made for This. Season 4 resumes September 9th.