Peanut Butter and Mashed Potatoes


One of the biggest challenges in “church work” is teaching each other not to pass judgment on others. There is a strong tendency to form quick opinions on people and actions without really knowing them or trying to understand what’s going on. People often judge actions or become quick-tempered before taking the time to get facts and access the situation. Way too often, opinions about why people do things, what we think people are thinking, and snap judgments cause tension and mistrust.

Let me ask, “What’s the strangest food combination you’ve ever eaten?” When growing up, I learned to like liver and cooked carrots by dousing ketchup all over them. I like peanut butter on my waffles, crunchy, of course. When I eat my peanut butter sandwiches, I sometimes put the potato chips on the peanut butter in the sandwich.

My father-in-law liked onion on his apple pie, and my mother loved a glass of buttermilk with cornbread crumbled inside. And who hasn’t enjoyed a tasty Miracle Whip sandwich or a slice of pineapple dipped in horseradish sauce?

But my grandfather had one strange combination I had never heard of and have yet to try. He liked peanut butter and mashed potato sandwiches. Then I heard of people who have peanut butter and mayo sandwiches, pickles on their peanut butter sandwiches, and even ranch dressing and peanut butter.

My uncle used to make fun of his step-dad and the peanut butter and mashed potato sandwiches. Then one day, my grandfather told him, “Don’t knock, ’til you try it.” So my uncle jumped off the deep end and tried it. And you know what? Right! He liked it!

I see people go through life always knocking what other people like before they’ve even tried it themselves. I hear people criticizing churches whose doors they have never entered. Others judge people without even knowing them. Some are ready to pounce on actions they deem wrong without even checking out if it’s true or not.

The following is from an old copy of “Daily Bread”:

“We sometimes criticize others unfairly. We don’t know all their circumstances, nor their motives. Only God, who is aware of all the facts, is able to judge people righteously. John Wesley told of a man he had little respect for because he considered him to be miserly and covetous. One day when this person contributed only a small gift to a worthy charity, Wesley openly criticized him. After the incident, the man went to Wesley privately and told him he had been living on parsnips and water for several weeks. He explained that before his conversion, he had run up many bills. Now, by skimping on everything and buying nothing for himself he was paying off his creditors one by one. “Christ has made me an honest man,” he said, “and so with all these debts to pay, I can give only a few offerings above my tithe. I must settle up with my worldly neighbors and show them what the grace of God can do in the heart of a man who was once dishonest.” Wesley then apologized to the man and asked his forgiveness.”

We must teach people that before we become judgmental of others, before we criticize this or that, before we present ourselves as being disgusted over someone or something, let’s take the time to know what we’re talking about. First appearances are very often misleading.

Chances are, when people step back and learn to view things rationally, it will change their entire view of things, and they just may like it!

“Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.” John 7:24

Danny Minton is Pastoral Minister and Elder at Southern Hills Church of Christ

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