Fruit Of The Spirit: A Margin Of Error

BY SIMEON YOUNG SR.

It is not uncommon for pollsters to sally forth with disclaimers that admit to a margin of error of four or five percentage points either way.” How do they know What scientific process calculates degrees of
wrongness?

Pollsters are not alone, of course, in giving themselves wide berth. I’m afraid most of us leave ourselves lots of room for our own mistakes. “After all, who’s perfect?” we ask ourselves. We grab onto Paul’s words where he said, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

We make generous allowances for ourselves, but are scrupulously exacting with others. Why can’t we cede a margin of error when others miss the mark and need understanding , and mercy, and restoration?

Paul said, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted” (Galatians 6:1).

Paul also said, “Thou art inexcusable, 0 man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things” (Romans 2:1).

Jesus described a man with a beam in his eye trying to remove a mote from his brother’s eye. This word-picture conjures up a mental image that would be knee-slapping funny if it were not so ridiculous, and
tragic, and hypocritical.

“Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant?” is a question we need to ask ourselves when we are tempted to white-wash ourselves and smear someone else with the same brush stroke.

Many years ago while Brother W. A. Bingaman was pastoring in Anacoco, Louisiana, he was called to the jailhouse in nearby Leesville to “go bail” for a wayfaring teenager in his church. A deacon who was riding with Brother Bingaman to the jailhouse wanted to know what the pastor was going to do with that awful kid. Brother Bingaman sensed the deacon wanted to go for the kid’s jugular. He said, “Brother, I’m going to handle this situation just exactly like I would if it were your son in jail.” I don’t know for sure what the deacon’s response was, but my guess is (and I leave myself no margin of error here) that
he quickly lost his taste for blood.

Very few people who wanted Michael Fay to receive the caning in Singapore would want their own son to be beaten with a wet bamboo strip wielded by the hand of a martial arts expert. Whether caning is
civilized or barbaric is a moot point for this article. However, Fay’s caning was not a fine legal point to be debated in the halls of academia, as far as his mother was concerned.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, devised a cruel joke in which he sent identical telegrams to twelve prominent men in England. Each telegram carried the following cryptic message: “All is known, flee!” Within 24 hours, all twelve men had left the country. The ironic twist to this true story is that Doyle didn’t know anything negative about any of the twelve men.

The moral of this article? Give everybody else the same margin of error you allow yourself.

THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED BY TRUMPET, JUNE 1994. THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.

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