Walk A Mile In My Cleats

April 27, 2023
Volume 27, Number 12

Little League Baseball officials in Deptford Township, New Jersey have come up with a creative solution to a problem they faced. The problem was that some of the volunteers who were umpiring games were resigning. The reason for these resignations? Hostile parents were being quite vocal with their displeasure over their rulings. It’s something many parents have witnessed.

A new rule has been put in place which orders belligerent parents to agree to umpire three games before they are permitted to return as spectators. The rationale is obvious: Why don’t you see how challenging it can be to please everyone? After three games they’ll probably see things differently. The rule has been applauded by the Little League International President Stephen Keener, who believes the rule will “shine a light on the importance of treating everyone with respect”.

The principle behind this novel rule is “don’t judge another person until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes”. To walk in another person’s shoes means to experience what they experience, as much as possible. Once we have done that, we’ll almost always feel more sympathy toward that person and be less inclined to criticize or condemn them.

Jesus has important teachings on this idea. In Matthew 7:1 He stated, “Judge not, that you be not judged.” In verses 3-5 He used a humorous image to make His point: “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? … Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

People often misinterpret what Jesus taught. He did not say that we should condone what others do, even though their actions may be sinful according to God’s word. He rather was saying that we should first remember that we also have faults – sometimes more glaring than the one we’re judging! – before we make any attempt to confront them. Once we remember our own imperfections, then we can proceed “to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

The Pharisees of Jesus’ time were notorious hypocrites. Matthew 23:27 is a sample of Jesus’ rebuke of this group of religious snobs: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.” Righteous cannot be just a show; it must be genuine, from the heart.

Here’s how John stated our challenge: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). The solution is to “confess our sins” (v. 9), to honestly admit that we also often fail to meet the standard. We, too, might have blown that call that led to the other team scoring a run. Humility is always the best attitude when dealing with other people.

“Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way” (Romans 14:13).


Copyright, 2023, Timothy D. Hall. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James Version (Copyright, 1990, Thomas Nelson, Inc.).

“LightGrams” is produced by the Central Church of Christ, 2722 Oakland Avenue, Johnson City, Tennessee, 37601, and is written by Tim Hall, minister. It is sent free of charge every Thursday to all who request it. To subscribe or to receive more information, write to “Tim@GraceMine.org” (our E-mail address), to the U.S. mail address above, or call (423) 282-1571.

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