Before You Accuse Me

 "Before you accuse me, take
  a look at yourself . . ."
      ~Ellas McDaniel~

The Song

Before You Accuse Me was written by Ellas McDaniel a.k.a Bo Diddley. It first appeared on the rock and roll icon’s self-titled debut album in 1958.

Creedence Clearwater Revival popularized it by including it on their 1970 Cosmo's Factory, which is the version that captured me.

Eric Clapton recorded the tune electric for 1989’s Journeyman effort, and then did it acoustic on the MTV Unplugged series, which was released in 1992 on Unplugged.

It is a staple in the blues repertoire. Bar bands learn its guitar licks and growl the old familiar words.

The song has universal appeal—have you ever noticed how often the lyrics prove true?

Words

It is so simple for us to see the other person’s faults and failures. Our common inclination it to turn a blind eye on our shortcomings—we have a remarkable ability to look past the face reflecting back at us in the mirror.

Not only can we identify the mistakes or imperfections of everyone else, we also tend to stir the pot with disparaging observations.

We can cause considerable harm by launching words like fast bullets fired in a flash. Our accuracy is usually quite good. When we get into hypercritical mode we can make our accusations fly straight to the heart, inflicting wounds that require a long time to heal.

We seldom comprehend the power our words contain; power to build up or power to tear down. The choice is always within our grasp.

We can have a positive or negative impact on those we rub shoulders with every day. Simply the words and tone of voice we chose to use can influence lives.

 "Don't pick on people, jump
  on their failures, criticize
  their faults--unless, of
  course, you want the same
  treatment. That critical
  spirit has a way of
  bommerranging. It's easy
  to see a smudge on your
  neighbor's face and be
  oblivious to the ugly 
  sneer on your own."
   ~Jesus of Nazareth~
       The Message 

Do we routinely see the flaws in others that we most dislike within ourselves?

  • Yes
  • No
  • No Opinion
See results without voting

Foibles & Contradictions

Have we all forgotten that friend or mentor in our past that always had wisdom and reassurance to prod us along? We should each come alongside someone experiencing a tough time and be a cheerleader.

Or we can sit in the stands to gossip between derisive shouts. Unfortunately, in today’s climate the typical response is to cluster on the sidelines in sanctimonious glee.

The problem is that no one ever achieves perfection in this lifetime. We are all works in progress. Some of us are undergoing demolition and restructuring, while others are being remodeled or redecorated. We are all at various stages of the process.

Our interpersonal exchanges would be so much sweeter if we would all give each other the latitude we desire to receive. The decency of our culture would also be cranked up a notch.

Instead of embracing our humanity, we often pretend that we have no weaknesses at all. We buzz along in a state of constant denial, claiming to be above the fray.

Others may have difficulties, but not us. We will not slam up against the stress-points of life. There will be none of that for us. No chance. We’ve got life all figured out and are having no struggles. We're self-sufficient and doing just dandy, thank you very much.

Actually there is an ancient phrase to encompass that attitude—loosely translated into contemporary English it reads: Horse Manure. If honesty prevailed in a self-evaluation exercise, we would each admit to being overwhelmed by our foibles and contradictions.

Often we recognize the flaws in others that we most dislike within ourselves. And since it is easier to cast stones at others than invest the effort necessary to make adjustments or changes in our personal lives, we become adept at lobbing stones.

The Verdict

The Apostle John records a fascinating account where Jesus of Nazareth was asked to pass judgment on a woman engaged in sexual promiscuity.

The religious elite of Israel—the teachers of the law and the Pharisees—were anxious to make a case against Jesus. They brought a woman “caught in adultery” to him and in accordance with the Law of Moses, demanded that he condemn her to death.

It was a trick to trap Jesus. If he released her he would be in violation of the Law; if he blessed the execution, he’d be turned over to the Roman authorities.

Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with his finger. Did he list the secret sins of those clamoring for the woman’s death? We really do not know, but when he stood up, Jesus said: “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”

The mob was primed to stone her. Before you accuse her, take a look at yourself.

Eyes darted furtively back and forth. One by one, those surrounding the woman caught glimpses of their inner self. Without verbally acknowledging the error of their ways, the crowd dispersed.

The woman was left alone to receive the full measure of Christ’s verdict: “Then neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin.”

If only we could develop that expression of grace in all our day to day encounters.

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Comments 42 comments

eric hartshaw 6 years ago

once again you nailed it!


RevLady profile image

RevLady 6 years ago from Lantana, Florida

This hub cuts to the core of the Love of God exhibited to His creatures through Jesus Christ and the type of love humanity, particularly Christian humanity, should show towards one another.

"Our interpersonal exchanges would be so much sweeter if we would all give each other the latitude we desire to receive. The decency of our culture would also be cranked up a notch.

Instead of embracing our humanity, we often pretend that we have no weaknesses at all. We buzz along in a state of constant denial, claiming to be above the fray. "

How true. Often, in being dishonest about our own faults and failures, we have been far too insensitive and callous toward others who have fallen short. I think it reveals something unkind about us and I wonder if perhaps, instead of viewing ourselves in a mirror, we should rather use a magnifying glass.

What I am hearing in this message Ken, is that Love makes the difference! Blessings!

Forever His,


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Thank you, Eric.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

RevLady - Thank you for your always encouraging & affirming words. Very much appreciated. Blessings.


UlrikeGrace profile image

UlrikeGrace 6 years ago from Canada

Do onto others as would have them do unto you. Or we could say unto others as you would have them say unto you. A value that if we, especially as Christians, life-time Jesus followers, would follow, what a difference this would make in our specific, and sometimes grander, circles.

If only we could appreciate the power behind our own personal words, they are not just sounds made into the air...but a power that holds either blessing or cursing...life or death. I believe we/I would be much more careful of what I say and how I say it.

Thanks again for the great hub, may your day be filled with sweet words.

Ulrike Grace


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

UlrikeGrace - Thank you for expanding on my thoughts. I appreciate your words. Blessings & sweet words to you.


starbug5052 6 years ago

Grt Hub, enjoyed reading it. The wrds were so inspiring.God is Love.


50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 6 years ago from Arizona

Ken, fantastic hub and when I here that song as Clapton did it the story you told comes strait to mind.

Much love and peace, dusty


Unchained Grace profile image

Unchained Grace 6 years ago from Baltimore, MD

Ken, now this is getting scary as I was just discussing this very same topic with Bishop Savage earlier today. It was in the development of a sermon entitled,"The Most Dangerous Object in our House." (The Mirror) The points you brought out here are part and parcel of those exact same ones in the sermon.

I see this as confirmation as it was the very first Hub I read today. Like Coffeesnob, I can do nothing until my coffee is ready. That's the rule. This is solid and hard hitting. Just the way it needed to be.

Back in the day, I really hated people who were actually just like me. Mean,, nasty and bitter. That mirror can be a real eye-opener. Ken, thank you!


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

I think it is the most basic Christian message.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

starbug5052 - Thank you for the visit & for you kind words. Glad you enjoyed it.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Dusty - I liked Clapton's acoustic version too, but for me Credence's sound is what is on the tape inside my head. Be encouraged & blessed.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Unchained Grace - It's that neat the way the Holy Spirit works. That mirror illustration is a timeless message. Thank you for the words of affirmation. Peace.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

dahoglund - Thanks. I think you are exactly right. Peace.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

Ken, This is an excellent hub and looking at ourselves is essential to spiritual growth. I heard that if you point a finger at someone the look at the 4 fingers pointing back at you. Forgiveness is a most important aspect of our growth and I feel good when I am serving Him.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Thank you for your encouraging words, Pamela. You are right about forgiveness; it is essential for spiritual growth. Blessings to you.


2besure profile image

2besure 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

"Have we all forgotten that friend or mentor in our past that always had wisdom and reassurance to prod us along? We should each come alongside someone experiencing a tough time and be a cheerleader.'

Thirty years later I am still in contact with my first spiritual mentor, the Pastor who lead me to the Lord. I love him and appreciated all the times of encouragement and his infinite patience with me, when I wanted to be a knucklehead. Keep Brother Bender in prayers, he has Parkinsons. Would you believe his still preaches occasionally from a wheelchair. Faithful


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

2besure - Thank you for sharing that wonderful testimony. May God's grace continue to sustain & encourage Brother Bender. Blessings to you.


Ann Nonymous profile image

Ann Nonymous 6 years ago from Virginia

Great content and message, Ken...Thanks for sharing it with us! I especially needed the reminder!


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Ann Nonymous - Thank you. I suspect that from time to time we all need the reminder.


50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 6 years ago from Arizona

Ken, I went and looked up the song as it was done by Credence, and gave it a couple of listens and while I'm a big fan of acoustic performances as I like to learn to mimic them on my guitar, I'm a big fan of the Credence era rock groups and it has been so long since I had heard that version I forgot how it felt, I won't default to best but it's best for travelin' music I get for in the jeep roving. I save the acoustics for sitting back relaxing and contemplating important stuff like my belly button :)


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

Great music-great message. Thank you sir.


Dave Mathews profile image

Dave Mathews 6 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

Brother Ken thank you for such a deep awakening of our consciences. The one great admonishment we all to often seem to forget so easily as we point a finger at others."Judge not lest ye be judged." Jesus rightly told the woman to go for He was not in this world to judge, but unto repentance.

Thanks Ken for this eye opener.

Sincerely,

Brother Dave.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Dusty - Have lots of fun listening while traveling & roving. And also, do loads of contemplating . . .


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Mickey Dee - You're welcome. Thank you.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Dave - You're welcome. Thank you for your comments. And yes we too often & too easily forget this message.


coffeesnob 6 years ago

"Instead of embracing our humanity, we often pretend that we have no weaknesses at all"

Pretending always gets us in trouble-just simply is a dance with deception


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

coffeesnob - You are exactly right. Pretending or denial is just a way we deceive ourselves. Blessings to you.


Stan Fletcher profile image

Stan Fletcher 6 years ago from Nashville, TN

Great hub Ken as always. Love that song. Love the blues. There's a lot of honesty in the blues.

There's an interesting balance between not being accusatory and standing for what is right. That line is very difficult to walk. I've made so many huge mistakes over the past couple of years, that I have not felt like even picking up stones, much less throwing them. But I shudder to think how judgmental I could be when I had my proverbial Christian 'stuff' together.

I think it might be fair to say that humility is refined in the fires of failure.

Wow, look how humble I am! :)


Faybe Bay profile image

Faybe Bay 6 years ago from Florida

Wow, I agree, but also I love how you started with Bo Diddley and ended up with an essay on double standards existing since before the time of Jesus.


A M Werner profile image

A M Werner 6 years ago from West Allis

Ken, I love how you are working your love of the Lord into songs and music that othes might not otherwise distinguish as being or having a Christian message. The whole judgmental theme works in perfectly with this because it is easy to look at entertainers lifestyles and condemn them, but they too are not perfect and some may have some very deep and truthful thoughts coming through their lyrics. I also thought of how scripture tells us that the tongue cannot be tamed, unruly and full of poison and it can defile our whole character and reputation if we let it. We really need to pay heed to who, how and what we say. Peace.


Ghost Whisper 77 profile image

Ghost Whisper 77 6 years ago from The U.S. Government protects Nazi War Criminals

Love that song! Makes me want to dance! lol

I am thinking upon your words about Jesus asking the one without sin to cast the first stone...now I am bringing it up to this moment. If I would be standing in the middle of all of these people and Jesus asked that...I almost feel like I would be hit from all sides and I would surely be stoned to death-to a pulp!

My point? Why do people not see their own sin anymore? Why do they only see mine? Intersting thoughts to ponder as I take cover behind my blankets and pillows tonight and hope that no boulder/boulders- land on me.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Thanks, Stan. You are exactly right about that interesting balance. Somehow we have to stand for right & keep our mouths shut. Not easy, but necessary if we are going to be faithful to Christ's example.

Anyway, blessings to you. Take care.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Faybe Bay - Thank you for stopping in. Glad you enjoyed it.

Peace & blessings to you.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

AM - Thank you for your thoughtful words. You're right about the tongue. Passages in both the OT & NT warn us. I confess my tongue often wags needlessly or wrongly. Thank God for grace & forgiveness. Blessings.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Ghost Whisper - Always good to see you & read your words. I appreciate your insights. Thank you. Much encouragement to you.


Rafini profile image

Rafini 6 years ago from Somewhere I can't get away from

I don't know what to say - but you certainly made your point!


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Rafini - Thanks for the visit & comments. Much appreciated.


pmccray profile image

pmccray 6 years ago from Utah

This bully mentality is as prevelent today as it was during the time of Jesus. It can be seen today with the economic downturn, comments like "THEY" should not have bought a home if "THEY" could not afford it. Standing in judgement of others is a sin, especially if not thought out thoroughly. These misfortunes to these innocents did not happen all by themselves greed played a major part. It must be great being so wise and perfect. Lest these bullies forget the only perfect man died on the cross for OUR sins. Great Hub


Mystique1957 profile image

Mystique1957 6 years ago from Caracas-Venezuela

Ken...

There is so much truth self-contained in this hub that it cannot be dismissed. It is saddening however, to realize that the majority falls within this category of "poisonous speakers". Poisoning not only the aggravated ones but themselves. We can only hope for the best and in the meantime actively participate in sharing true universal love through our speech and ways of communicating!

Very enlightening, dear friend!

Thanks for sharing!

warmest regards and blessings,

Al


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

pmccray - Thank you for stopping in & sharing. Your comments have the ring of truth to them.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Mystique1957 - You're welcome. Thank you for your thoughtful & wise words. Blessings.

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