Context Is So Important

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by Sherry Chamblee

The “rules” at school say zero tolerance for guns. So a kindergartner gets suspended because he bit his pop-tart into the shape of a gun? Lack of context.

Rules can only address specific situations. That’s why God gave us a discerning mind, the ability to see beyond just the rules and into the context.

Back when Jesus was on earth, He and His disciples walked through a cornfield and plucked some corn to eat. The Pharisees condemned them for doing this because they’d decided that picking an ear of corn on the Sabbath was “work”, and God said not to work on the Sabbath.  

These men had no context.  

God never intended the Sabbath to be a burden, but for it to be a time of peace, rest, relaxation. A time to reflect on God and to worship Him. But not a time to be so burdened and worried over breaking a man-made definition of “work” that there would be no rest at all.

When I was about 12 years old, I once had the father of a good friend of mine call me a rebel, and he stopped letting his daughter hang out with me because of it. His proof I was a rebel was that I wore pants. That’s it. This man had no insight into my walk with God. He had no idea what I was like, because he barely knew me. He’d just picked an issue and decided that if I didn’t line up with him, then I must be rebellious. 

I honestly was not a rebel at that point in my life. In fact, I was more on the side of being an obnoxious rule-follower. 

He didn’t take time to see the truth. He used one arbitrary measurement, and decided that I didn’t fit his view of “proper”, and so I was a rebel in his eyes.

Funny thing is, as an adult I now only wear dresses. And guess what? People are still judging me. I’ve had some people think I was a Pharisee simply because of what they see me wear all the time. There have been some who judge me for this, assuming that I judge them for what they’re wearing.  They consider me to be a Pharisee, a legalistic standards-worshipper who judges harshly anyone who disagrees with me.  

I strive not to be that. I’ve found that with God’s help, I can maintain my own standard without judging yours.

But I share all that to point out that no matter which side of the “standards aisle” I was on, people took me out of context.

And we do that a whole lot nowadays.  

We need to stop and see the people around us. See them for who they are. See the hurts they have in their life. See them as the ones who Jesus came to earth to save. See them as people who need to hear the Gospel first, not as people who need to be “fixed” first. See each other as people who have flaws, and fail, and are no worse off than we are ourselves.

About the Author:

Sherry Chamblee

Sherry grew up in various cities around northern and central California. This gave her all sorts of stories that sat and festered in her brain, waiting to be let loose. She eventually went to college in Wisconsin, where she met her equally frenetic husband, Rich. They have six (yes, count them) children, two dogs and a cat, and currently reside in a madhouse in the southern California area. As a family, they enjoy being active in their local church. Sherry spends her time writing when not caring for Granny, the kids, the dogs, the cat and any number of strays in the neighborhood.

Sherry Chamblee can be found at Or check out her books at

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