January 9, 2009 
Crow anyone? 
Marlo Peddycord Francis

I hope you are enjoying the Girlfriends in God daily devotions.  We (Mary, Sharon, and Gwen) would like to introduce you to some of our special friends.  From time-to-time, the Friday devotions will be written by one of our friends in ministry.  We call them our "Friday Friends."  So grab your Bible and a fresh cup of coffee and drink in the words from our "Friday Friend", Marlo Francis.

Today’s Truth 
"Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, or criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It's easy to see a smudge on your neighbor's face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, 'Let me wash your face for you,' when your own face is distorted by contempt? It's this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.” 
Matthew 7: 1-5, The Message

Friend to Friend 
It was late afternoon as I screeched into the driveway and franticly started unloading my car.  I had arrived home the night before from a week of ministry travel, and as brilliance would have it … I planned a dinner party for my return.  You’d think that I would have planned it somewhere else other than my own home … but no, some flicker of momentary insanity convinced me that I would arrive from Atlanta calm, completely caught up, and ready to entertain.  Would someone please slap me the next time I think something like that?    

As I slid the grocery bags across the kitchen floor and then ran for more, I decided that if I triple-timed everything from that moment forward, I would have dinner ready when the guests arrived.  Of course, that meant sacrificing some of the frivolous things off my pre-dinner “to do” list, such as using the bathroom, changing clothes, and washing the vegetables.  I could live with that!

As I unpacked, my husband Steve chose the wrong time to walk through the kitchen.

“Oh honey, would you puh-leeze help me get this stuff put away?  Everyone is going to be here and I still have a gazillion things to do.  If you would put those salad dressings in the fridge to cool before we eat, it would really help.” 

Now, let me just say, Steve had just gotten off “daddy duty” with my arrival home, and his accommodating spirit had graciously allowed me the opportunity to stay out of town for six days.  He is so supportive of my ministry work, and he does everything he can to encourage what God is doing in my life.  However, the man was more than happy to pass the torch back into my motherly hands when I got home.  Still, my request was met with an understanding smile and a, “Sure, sweetie”, as he turned around and headed to unpack my bounty of Newman's and Hidden Valley. What a precious husband I have, had scarcely passed through my brain when all of the sudden I felt my blood pressure rising. 

When Steve opened the door to the refrigerator, he saw the crowded door filled with bottles, jars, and containers. He sighed heavily, shook his head, and proceeded to unload the whole fridge door onto my countertop. My head began to spin around like a rabid owl.

Now hear me ladies, this is exactly the same sort of behavior I have seen in my father. My mother will ask him to stop and help her do a simple task ... and he (along with his enormous left brain) will have to stop, reorganize, label, and color code whatever the project is centered around. He just doesn’t understand how Mama lets things get so... ummm ... "right-brainy". We creative types must have our outlets. You could eat off Mama's or my kitchen floor with no risk of disease ... but stay out of our fridges and sock drawers. It isn't pretty.

Steve is so much like my father, so he quietly dove right in to remedy my "right-brainy” refrigerator disorder. Observing this from the other side of the kitchen ... and knowing our guests were most likely on their way across town ... I stopped spinning my head long enough to release a low, guttural growl and said, "You're doing that thing my father does." Steve looked up at me with sticky, half-full bottles of dressing that expired 7 years ago piled in his arms and calmly, unashamedly stated, "That's because you are doing that thing your mother does."

Touché.

Score:
Steve -1
Marlo - 0

When he said it, I felt such conviction flood my spirit.  Sure, I was rushed and flustered.  Sure, there were hungry people headed across town expecting a meal I had yet to prepare.  As the world would see it, I had plenty of reasons to be impatient with this sudden display of tidiness on Steve’s part.  However, not only had he willingly given so much of himself over the last six days for the good of our family; but he had done it out of genuine love and support for who I am in Christ.  I was so quick to overlook that precious gift ~ and instead, I chose to react harshly to the first thing that irritated me.  As soon as he responded, the scripture of Matthew 7 sprang from my memory.  I felt so badly for jumping on him, knowing that his intent was to do something helpful.  In the seconds that followed his reaction, we stopped and our eyes met.  I’m amazed that Steve could see mine with the honking planks protruding from my sockets; but surprisingly, he could.  We started at one another for a moment, and then we burst out laughing.  I said, “I’m so sorry!  You are right; I am just like my mother.  I love to cram bottles in the door … I can’t help it!”  We hugged, and the guests arrived within the hour.

As we sat down to our meal, I gazed across the table at Steve, realizing all over again why I love him so much.  I also thanked God that He swiftly brought the truth of His Word to my heart when harsh words were so close to the surface. He reminded me that it is easy to look at the actions of others and feel justified in judgment … but He used that truth to point out how my actions are equally capable of prompting the same response.

As everyone cut open their piping hot potatoes and dressed their crunchy, cold salads, I quietly thanked the Lord for the salt of Scripture … and how much better crow tastes when it’s sprinkled with the Word of Truth.

Let’s Pray 
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the power of Your Word.  Thank You that when we hide scripture in our hearts, You bring it back to us when we need it most.  I am sorry for the times I quickly reach out to remove the smudge from someone’s face ~ failing to check my own face in the mirror.  Please give me a heart that is quick to love and slow to point a finger.  Let me be a servant of grace and an ambassador of mercy.  Thank You that even when we see fall so short, You allow us to find reconciliation and even sometimes, a laugh. 

In Your name, Jesus, we pray, 
Amen

Now It’s Your Turn 
We all have moments of looking at the speck in someone else’s eye.  Our sinful nature makes sure of that.  This week, ask the Lord to make you sensitive to those times when your reaction is to check your neighbor’s eye before your own.  Often times, after examining our own faces in the mirror … we see grace in a whole new light.  Thank God today for His patience and mercy ~ and ask Him to give you new eyes to see others more clearly, for His glory.

More From The Girlfriends 
What an important message Marlo has shared today!  I will never again look at salad dressing in quite the same way!  We encourage you to read, to study and memorize Scripture so that when the time comes, it is a powerful tool, ready to be used.  Need help?  Visit the Girlfriends in God website for resources that will encourage and equip you for the journey. 

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