A Passover Lesson: Pointing the Finger
Written by Susan Scott Smith
Pointing the finger at others comes naturally to us. But the Passover season reminds us that we really need to be pointing the finger at ourselves.
As a child, I remember being warned about “pointing my finger” at others and criticizing their faults. My mother and grandmother always reminded me that while I pointed one at them, there were three pointed in my direction.
Passover is a season in which God’s people are to engage in self-examination (1 Corinthians 11:27-28). At this time of year, we are more sensitive to lessons we need to learn about ourselves in our effort to become perfect (Matthew 5:48).
Recently, I had a lesson that demonstrated this point to me. So here is the story of my “aha moment.”
Lesson 1: A trip to the doctor with my husband
My husband and I were at the medical center for my follow-up visit after gallbladder surgery. While we were in the waiting room, he was on his phone looking at golf information. They finally called my name to see the doctor; and as I followed the lady, my husband did not budge! I asked him if he was coming and he stayed put—staring at his phone like a deer caught in the headlights! I recall telling the lady that I thought he was sitting there like a bump on a log!
After seeing the doctor, I returned to the waiting area (still feeling somewhat miffed at him) and explained that for a while I had felt like I was No. 2 after golf.
Lesson 2: A shopping trip and my mother’s appointment
A few days prior to a vacation, I was running around trying to put together last-minute items on my packing list and realized I needed to purchase some items. On this particular day my mother had a doctor’s visit. I try to go to all of her appointments so that an extra set of ears is hearing the doctor’s instructions.
I set out with my to-do list in hand and made progress while watching the clock from time to time. About 30 minutes prior to her appointment, I headed toward the parking lot in order to meet her and my dad at the doctor’s office. However, I saw a Claire’s store and remembered I needed some ponytail bands! Of course, I went in.
There were too many choices, and I lost track of time. Not until about five minutes before the appointment did I realize what time it was. There was no way I could make it. I was able to call my dad and have him put the doctor on speaker phone—but the fact is, I still wasn’t there.
I was quickly reminded of what I learned years ago: When I point a finger at someone else, there are three fingers pointing back at me! I had been quick to criticize my husband when he hadn’t responded to my needs in the way I wanted him to. But my own priorities? Well, I would have to look deeper. But I realized that I had just done to my mother the same thing I felt my husband had done to me.
Not only did I regret letting my mother down, but I felt like I had also disappointed God who wants us to honor our parents (Exodus 20:12). But even more, I realized how easy it is to judge another for a fault you may very well have yourself!
May the lessons you learn at this most important time of year be as helpful as mine have been so far.
For more thoughts about preparing for the Passover season, read the author’s blog on “Self-Examination Doesn’t Stop at Passover.”
Susan Scott Smith is a third-grade teacher and a member of the Church of God, a Worldwide Association, in Texas.