Friday, December 18, 2015

Advice to Donna, from the Sermon on the Mount

I've been reading through the Sermon on the Mount the last few mornings.  It's all so very familiar to me that I would normally have read it all in one day, thought to myself how nice it is, realized my toes were stepped on a lot, and moved on quickly.

But as I mentioned in another entry, I recently discovered The Message version of the Bible, so after I read a passage in the New King James Bible, I check to see how this modern version translates it.  There is something about certain verses of the Bible, no matter what translation, that will bring your faults to light if you are paying any attention.  But this radical new (to me) version really makes me take a second look.  Here is the passage I read this morning, first from the KJV and then from the Message:

Judge not, that ye be not judged.
For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.
And now from the Message:

A Simple Guide for Behavior

1-5 “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, 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.

So I wrote a poem to myself about this:

Donna Wood
December 18, 2015

Matthew seven, one through five
In this translation comes alive
It takes me down a notch or two:
And brings my failures into view.

It's not so much a public thing,
My self-deceit and censuring,
But private thoughts, in light of day,
Still show in things I do or say.

Oh wretched person that is me,
Abandon your hypocrisy!
Look at yourself and take a pause
When you would judge another's flaws.

There's good to see in everyone.
Just look for that, and then be done.
I now submit a nobler cause:
See to your own defects and flaws.

My childishly worded poems aren't Shakespeare, I'm aware.  But they are totally "me".  So take me as I am.


  1. Wonderful reflection and wonderful poem.

  2. Your poem is beautifully conceived and right on target. It's written from your heart and no apologies to Shakespeare (or anyone else) are necessary.

  3. Love this insight and love the poem.

  4. I really like that new translation. But, I have never read an unkind word about anyone else on your blog. You seem to be very kind hearted and giving. Your poem is great too. Wendy

  5. Donna, this may be my favorite of your poems!

  6. You are much kinder than you know, but human and wanting to improve. That is why I admire you so much.

  7. I like your Message Bible. I am going to check it out.

    And, us commoners really enjoy your poems.


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