In the wonderful world of steel, which is the world in which I work, we use a range of measuring devices many times a day. Tape measures, micrometers and callipers. Oft times, we are asked about the tolerance on specific sizes of steel and what the measurement truly is on cut pieces. Since a customer pays for steel by the pound, we have to be as accurate as possible so that they know we are not charging them for steel they didn't get. Additionally, we measure cut pieces for accuracy to be sure that they can prepare the steel into tools or pieces and parts that their customer requires of them.

On occasion we get calls from customers who tell us that the steel is not finishing properly and there must be something wrong with the steel. It either won't heat treat to the proper Rockwell or it isn't the grade they purchased. More gauges, machines and equipment are used then to measure varying components in the steel to see if it meets the standards and guidelines issued by the industry we abide by. When we have to send a piece to a metallurgist, the tester takes the piece through many different steps of examination to determine if the piece truly was what the paper stated; was it handled and cut properly at the saw; did the toolmaker grind too much off the steel or was it indeed an undersized product to begin with; did the heat-treater heat it accordingly. Each step along the way a report is written so that the tester and all parties involved can decide where the material became faulty.

When the steel is considered to be substandard, a full report is prepared and delivered and the steel is then thrown into a scrap barrel to be sold to the highest bidder. It's not a total loss but it's no longer able to perform as it was intended for. The standard wasn't met.

It occurred to me that sometimes relationships are measured in this very same way. We hold people or they hold us to a tolerance that has been determined individually. Since every one is different and has an idea of what is an acceptable performance we measure our friends, coworkers, relatives and acquaintances by varying degrees of standards. Sadly, we have placed peoples actions against a chart to which they must perform. We measure every action, word or decision they make to see if it falls within our tolerance chart of acceptability. Sometimes it seems, we are tossing them aside quickly as if dropping them into a scrap barrel. We hold ourselves as judge and jury over their life choices. We make decisions without gathering all the proper information. There are times, if we are in that place, that we should confront someone or hold them accountable for their life choices but only if it's causing harm.

The Bible teaches me about not judging. Recovery has allowed me to put into practice what I've read and step back when I think I am judging another. It teaches me to not talk so much and to listen more. It's allowed me to respect another's views even if I disagree with them. It's also taught me that I can't call standards on another human being.

That's the job of The Creator.