The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage does not allow any pets in our domicile. Something about cleaning up their mess and fleas and other things that I cannot recall. When our last child moved out of the house so did all pets. They are now just fond memories, at least on my side.

So no pets are roaming around our house, but I do have a variety of pet peeves. My wife graciously allows me to keep my pet peeves as long as I keep them to myself and that they do not mess up the house. For the most part, I try to do that, but occasionally one of my pets escapes from its pen.

A pet peeve that recently escaped from its cage is people taking something out of context to prove their point. You can make anything say and mean anything you want it to say or mean. The politicians have perfected this art and I think it ought to remain within the confines of Washington, DC.

It always amazes me that politicians can virtually say the same thing to different crowds and have it mean different things to separate crowds. Nobody can twist and turn words like a professional politician. Just think what these politicians could do if they put this great talent to benefit the people of the United States who elected them.

Getting back to my pet peeve. Perhaps a few examples might help explain what I am talking about.

In Pennsylvania, we have a saying that if you do not hear the whole thing you might just misunderstand what it is about and jump to the wrong conclusion. The saying goes like this, “Throw Papa down the stairs …” and if you stop here, Papa may go tumbling down the stairs. However, it is the end of that saying that changes the whole meaning of that phrase, “… his hat.”

If you focus on the first part of the phrase, you completely misunderstand what it is all about and poor old Papa will suffer the consequences. I wonder how many people have been thrown down the stairs because somebody just heard part of what was actually said.

Another one has to do with my wife. We have been married for over 40 years and get along famously, but every now and then she will say, “Who do you think you are?” The first time I heard this I was rather stunned.

If I would take that question by itself and divorce it from its context, I might flounder in the sea of despondency. After all, if my wife of 40 something years does not know who I am, something is amiss.

Perhaps, after all these years, she is losing it, whatever “it” is. On the other hand, after all these years she still cannot figure me out. I find that rather silly myself. I am a rather simple person. My wife has a different name for it; she calls it simpleton, but it means the same, I think.

I distinctly remember one time when she asked this question she caught me off guard and I reintroduced myself to her. Let me just say, I will never make that mistake again.

Every so often, she will say in a voice loud enough for everybody in the house to hear, “Somebody in this house is getting to be very messy.” The first time I heard this I went through the house looking for that “somebody” not knowing that it was me. At least I am somebody in this house, which is better than, “Who do you think you are?”

It is important to put everything together and in context.

Perhaps the most ridiculous example of this is people quoting the Bible. It always amazes me that those who claim the Bible is not really true, always cite the Bible to prove their point. Those who pick out fragments of the Bible to prove their point are rather pathetic.

Who has not heard somebody quote Matthew 7:1? “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” From that, they conclude that Jesus does not want us to judge anybody for anything. If they took the pains to read a few more verses they would find out that they are completely misunderstanding what Jesus is talking about.

I have yet to hear somebody pull out Hebrews 12:6, “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” It sort of sounds like judging to me.

If somebody wants to excuse something they are doing, they will invariably pull some phrase out of the Bible, always out of context, and hide behind it. It would be like a 200-pound man hiding behind a golf club thinking nobody can see him.

When our grandchildren were younger, they thought if they closed their eyes we could not see them. Just because they could not see did not mean we could not see. That is OK for small children, but when it comes into adulthood, it is quite silly.

Jesus also said, “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eyes; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:5).

I have read my Bible over 100 times throughout my life and I have learned one basic truth that goes along with this. True love always judges without being judgmental.


The Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship. Call him at (866) 552-2543 or e-mail His web site is

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