We’re All Just Lumps of Coal

In shopping for my first diamond, I learned a lot of things (other than how expensive jewelry is).  I learned all about those pesky 4 C’s: cut, clarity, color, carat.

Clarity is the silliest one of all.  Supposedly, a perfect diamond has no ‘inclusions’; permanent flaws or marks in the inside of the stone.  As I was choosing a stone, the saleswoman would tell me about each stone, show me the stone under a magnifying glass, and point out to me all of the flaws and inclusions of each.

I just pretended to see them…

Reflecting back, I thought, “Wow! Talk about nickel and diming a rock!”  The poor little things are subject to so much subjective scrutiny.  No one but me seems to be amazed at the fact that these shiny, valuable rocks actually started as a worthless, common lumps of carbon.


And isn’t it the same with us?

Life is not some big scorecard of the bad things you do vs the good things you do.  There are no angels in heaven making tick marks under the “naughty” and “nice” columns.

And yet we insist so much on keeping score against our fellow men. Judgment (the unrighteous kind) is when you assume you know the non-existent score on someone else’s scorecard.

This life isn’t about keeping score, it’s about becoming something!  And what are you becoming?

The final judgement will take into account the totality of your life’s existence; your good, bad, and ugly moments.  The judgement will not be a recounting or retelling of your life’s good deeds and misdeeds.  It will be an evaluation of what you have become.  Have you become the ‘manner of men ye ought to be’?

This is why no one is fit to judge (and why all human judgment is erred), because there is no way to see the totality of your heart – what you’ve been through and what you’ve become – where you’ve come from and where you are today.

Sometimes we get down on ourselves.  This is usually because we look at ourselves under the magnifying glass of the present, looking for all the imperfections. In these moments, we would be well advised to take a moment and reflect on the lump of coal we started as, and what we have become since.

Understanding this makes living the gospel much more practical and doable.  Rather than focusing on repenting of every little thing we do wrong, we can just relax and take the long view of our lives.  Over the long term, we take on ourselves the name of Christ, learning and perfecting over our whole life what that means.  We become a truer disciple very slowly over time.

One can quickly tire of living the gospel if we focus on keeping a postive win-loss column.  We will be more successfull if we simply enjoy the ride, and be content to slowly become what we were meant to become.

5 thoughts on “We’re All Just Lumps of Coal”

  1. My dad once told me that unfortunately, we judge ourselves on our intentions and others on their actions. I think that’s part of what makes us inherently flawed in judging one another.

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