Sermon Illustration Library

The Soot Mixup

Illustration Information
The Soot Mixup
Arlyn D. Stewart
Signs of the Times, December 21, 1954; via Signs of the Times E-mail Newsletter
Submitted By
Scott Severance
Submitted On
January 12, 2007
Last Modified
January 13, 2007

Two workmen were busy repairing the roof of a factory near the opening of a large chimney. All of a sudden their scaffolding shifted and they plunged fifteen feet through the black, sooty chimney to the level below. Both men scrambled to their feet unhurt. But, in the process of falling, one man’s face had become smeared with soot. The other man had thrown one arm over his face to protect it as he fell, so his face was clean. Now, before they returned to work, the man with the clean face went and washed, but the man with the black, sooty face went back to work directly without washing.

You have probably already realized why these men made the mistake they did. They looked at each other. The man with the clean face looked at the soiled face of his friend and assumed that his was sooty, too. The man with the blackened face saw the clean face of his fellow worker and assumed that his face was also clean. Both men were wrong because they were looking at each other. They were judging themselves one by the other. This is never a wise thing to do.