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Pot Meet Kettle

We’ve all heard the familiar phrase, “pot meet kettle” when referring to a situation that implies someone who is usually sitting in judgement about a person or situation. I believe it was William Penn who first used the term in his Some fruits of solitude, 1693, “the pot calling the kettle black” -Or at least the first to record and write it.

Shakespeare expressed a similar notion in a line in Troilus and Cressida, 1606:  “The raven chides blackness” as a signal of hypocrisy of the highest form.

But the general idea is that someone is being a hypocrite by citing a scenario and sitting in judgement of an issue or circumstance in which they themselves are guilty of, hence the old familiar adage, “the pot calling the kettle black.”

But perhaps the most famous of all is Jesus saying “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye (Matthew 7:5).

 There have been several times I’ve been in a quandary due to witnessing/hearing people crudely judging while scrutinizing others behavior. Without even knowing the reason or bothering to analyze or seek to find a plausible explanation for what is occurring.

Instead, these so-called pious hypocrites sit there in their “judgement seat” pointing fingers accusingly.  The judgement seat that’s reserved solely for the LORD. God doesn’t need anyone’s help in judging, nor does He expect it.

However, these individuals had nary a thought or concern about fearing or loving the LORD. Nope. They just yipped and yapped about situations and judged others. “Judge not, that ye be not judged” (Matthew 7:1).

This incident that I am about to describe was at a church fund raiser dinner many years ago.

After the usual polite introductions, we began to eat like civilized human beings. One individual in particular rapidly gulped down numerous glasses of wine. That’s when the judgement ceremony began.

The one drinking said; “Yes, I saw her going into the package store. She goes in there and comes out with wine every single day. How much wine can you drink for heaven’s sake? She probably drinks herself to sleep every night. She has to be an alcoholic!”  The others around the table laughed, inching closer almost seemingly salivating for more of the judgement and gossip session.

It continued for a quite some time and the others lapped it up.  They added to it with some of their own derisive comments about the woman being a drunkard. They all appeared to be competing with each other who could spew the most outlandish comments of the group. I feel it’s important to keep in mind that this volley of insults, or carousel of slander, was taking place while in attendance for a charitable organization. And of course, all in between their gulps of wine!

And so, they continued judging and speaking about a woman who allegedly bought wine in a package store. The lady lived alone. No children or family nearby. She was extremely lonely and such a sweet woman.

I barely knew the people at the table with me and my husband. It was random seating. But I was not enjoying their company or the uncomfortable topic. They just kept drinking and judging. “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again” (Matthew 7:2).

Until finally, I couldn’t hold my tongue any longer.  I looked directly at the person who was the ringleader, and asked, “Excuse me, just for my own edification is that your sixth or seventh glass of wine?”

And then pointedly looked around the table at the others and continued. “And I’ve lost track of how many you’ve had! Or you! Or you! Or you! Or you!”  Immediately they stopped wagging their tongues.  As a matter of fact, after a collective gasp…it looked like they appeared to swallow their tongues!

Their faces blanched under the lights, then a deafening silence ensued. I stood up for my finale. “May I suggest when you all are sober, that you refresh your memory with Jesus’ words about not judging others. Have a blessed night.”

I will never forget that event. I had thought about it during the night. I hoped the LORD wasn’t annoyed with me for being so candid and blunt. Perhaps I could have been more subtle. But it was truly grieving my spirit. And I felt so sorry for the lady they were relentlessly maligning in such a catty and fiendish way.

Then I thought about it. I believe that Jesus was pleased with my righteous indignation. He must have been in support of my actions, because they represented Him, His Words and doctrine.  “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

No, I’m quite sure God was very happy with me that night! I know that He expects His children to do all according to His will and His Word. “I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart” (Psalms 40:8).

As for the lady they were so grossly maligning, she is absolutely in love with Jesus, and doing exceedingly well in all aspects of life.

“Father God, may I always represent Your Word, and lift You up with glory and help those who are being falsely and viciously portrayed, I thank You for giving me the Words to say, in Jesus’ name, Amen.”


C D SWANSON is an Author of 22 plus books, freelance writer, contributor to various websites, including The Bottom Line Ministries/Faith News. She's an active member of Faithwriters- and has her online website/ministry for over 15 years. It is her greatest joy to write what’s in her heart, and thus her favorite form of expression is in her devotionals. She and her husband share a deep love of God and dote on their fur baby Mickey. Retired Director from Long Term Healthcare Industry, she continues to be an advocate for many. To check out other writings of this author you can go here:

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  1. Your story supports what I wrote in my article about anger. There are things we need to get angry about. Hopefully what you did made them all think about what they were doing.

  2. Yes, righteous anger very real! Correct the two articles do in fact support each other!
    Thanks John!
    Have a Blessed night~

  3. There is certainly a place for righteous anger Camille, but sometimes it takes courage to exercise it. I think it would have been easier to leave without saying anything, but I’m not sure that is what Jesus would have done. You did not take the path of least resistance, but with boldness said confidently what God had laid upon your heart. The Holy Spirit’s impression in that particular situation could not be ignored. May we each have the courage and obedience to say what the Spirit leads us to when faced with malicious gossips and those who slander others wrongly.

    • Hi Jennifer,

      Yes, I felt so strongly led to say something. It put in mind of all those waiting to stone the woman caught in the act of adultery. And heard Jesus saying in my head–“Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone.” And then those words came flowing out of me.
      Thanks for your comment and your reflections on my article.

      Have a blessed day~

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