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Posted by Mike Bartels on

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.” 

Matthew 7:1-6

I grew up in southern Wisconsin, near Wisconsin Dells and there were 6 children in my family. My sister is the oldest, and she is followed by 5 boys, including 4 of us who were born in a span of five years. I know what you are thinking, -that’s a lot of testosterone in one household. And yes, my Mom IS a saint. Throughout my childhood, we had built in teams with even sides of two versus two. To my Mom’s displeasure, some of this competitive activity took place in the kitchen while she was trying to make dinner. We would often wrestle and argue to defend our territory….or what we THOUGHT was our territory. We competed with each other in every aspect of life, but in the end, it was done with love and compassion. I eventually found myself living here in Hudson, the father of two, with my daughter arriving first. Because I grew up in a male-dominated household, I was quite accustomed to loud exchanges of words with my brothers. In fact, the louder you were, it seemed that volume helped to get your point understood. I learned the hard way that this is definitely NOT the way to communicate or discipline your pre-school daughter. Amy reminded me OFTEN that “you can’t talk to her like you talk to your brothers”. I think this was usually followed by her shaking her head and rolling her eyes. What I thought was normal communication was indeed hurtful and intimidating. I learned early on in my parenting career that I needed to use a softer, more gentle delivery with my kids (and my wife). Louder is NOT better. At times, our world seems to have adopted an acceptance for the loud, somewhat brash form of communication. Perhaps we all could learn to incorporate a calmer, more sensitive delivery with our messaging. We are all brothers and sisters of God.

Prayer: Dear Lord, help us be stewards of Your message, spreading peace, joy and kindness to all.  Amen.