Have you ever stopped to ask yourself exactly why DO we judge others? It is rather common place in this day and age to see someone face to face and actually look them up and down as if we are summing them up right then and there. We are forming opinions about the way they are dressed, about their hair, their make up, and about how they are carrying themselves. We even look over at their companions and begin to judge them.
How about the mother that you see in the store with a wailing child or one throwing an absolute temper tantrum?
Or the child rocking back and forth nervously hoping not to be noticed, fear in his eyes as he realizes others are watching?
Or the one where you glance around as someone hurries to take their place in the congregation as they are late once again for the service.
Do we stop to consider what the reasons might be in the instances I described above? Do we even take the time to care what the reasons are behind it?
Do we stick our noses in the air and frown as we pick them apart? Or do we show loving kindness and such overwhelming compassion and care for these individuals?
Take the first example of the mother in the store with a wailing child or one that is throwing the worst temper tantrum that you’ve ever seen in your life. Would you stare at this mother while verbally bashing her to the nearest person also standing as a witness to the events unfolding right before your very eyes? Do you judge them harshly and say they need to reprimand the child or have better control? Do you talk about how she’s lacking as a mother? OR do you show compassion for a child that is Autistic? Do you say a silent prayer for the mother and the child in that moment so that it passes quickly and they can, then, get back to enjoying peace in their lives?
Now for the second example of the child rocking back and forth, do you judge him harshly and demand that he stop right that minute because it’s distracting? Do you view it as disrespectful for him to be standing there rocking back and forth in your presence? If so, why? Maybe this child suffers from intense anxiety that you would not understand unless you have been there or had a family member that has suffered with severe anxiety and panic attacks. Maybe this child has been abused by his peers, bullied unmercifully and shamed to tears. Why join in and add to his punishment? Why not be understanding and sympathetic while whispering a silent prayer of, “Oh bless him, Lord … bless him … you know what is going on with this individual, Lord, show them your love … wrap them in your peace, Dear Father …”
How about the person rushing in late to the church service? Do you appreciate that they made the effort although they are 15 minutes late as the service time just marches on without them? Do you thank God for them still putting forth the effort to go to church, or do you look down your nose at them “always” being late? Do you hug them during the time of fellowship, or do you turn your back to them? Have you considered that this individual might be tending to a sick family member and had to wait on someone to relieve her in order for her to attend the service that morning? Did you stop to think that there might be underlying reasons as to why this person could not make it there on time? Or what about the husband or wife that fights the spouse the entire time about going to church? Do you show love to the tardy ones? Or do you sit in judgment that they just should have gotten up earlier and had their “priorities straight” so this wouldn’t happen on Sunday mornings or Sunday nights or even Wednesday nights for that matter?
There is so much judging that goes on. Why not love instead?
There’s judging of single mothers who are struggling to make ends meet as they do the best they can to provide everything within their power for their children to give them the absolute best life they can possibly offer them. Often times this does not mean giving them luxury items. Instead it means that the mother sacrifices a meal for herself and goes without to feed a hungry little mouth that she loves with all of her heart. But there’s judgement even still … judgement from other mothers about how if this lady would have done all she needed to do within the marriage, she wouldn’t have to shoulder this burden alone. Did you stop to consider that this woman did not want her marriage to fall apart but forces beyond her control caused her marriage to collapse right before her eyes? Have you considered, as you throw the bible at her for getting divorced, that maybe she was a victim of domestic violence that could no longer take it any more and did not wish to subject her children to this type of behavior? Have you considered that this woman that you sit in judgment of was cheated on, causing her entire world to crumble at her feet. Yet, she managed to pick up the broken and shattered pieces of her heart and carry on for the sake of her children.
What about the judgement from working moms to stay-at-home moms or vice versa? One group argues that the stay-at-home mom “has it made” while the “working mom” struggles to keep her head above water with deadlines to meet and people pulling at her all day in the corporate world. Have you stopped to consider the demands placed upon a stay-at-home mom as well? Or what about the guilt the working mom already feels in having to leave her child at daycare so she can earn a living due to a husband that may be unemployed at the moment or a situation that requires both parents work outside of the home when what the mother would really like is to be able to curl up on the couch with her little one and read a book instead of dressing in a suit and making presentations to the board all day long?
What about judging the outer appearance of a person as I described leading into this whole post … do you judge the baggy clothing or the way the person appears to be unconcerned about their appearance due to having a “do-rag” on their head as they make their way through Wal-Mart gathering needed items for their homes? Have you stopped to consider that this “Person of Wal-Mart” could be someone suffering after having chemo treatments? Have you considered that they really and truly DO care what they look like and are crying inside that they are losing their hair due to the treatments they are receiving? Have you considered that maybe their clothes are baggy because they have lost so much weight because of how sick they feel after their chemo treatments leaving them unable to eat?
Things just aren’t so “cut and dry” … now are they? There’s more here in these situations than first meets the eye.
My point in all of this is that you just simply cannot know another person’s struggles in this life or what they are going through. Every one you meet is fighting some type of battle. Be mindful of this as you go about your day and encounter people along the way.
I’ve pointed out several cases where people judge … have you seen your own thoughts reflected in anything I’ve written and shared?
Remember, as you judge … so will YOU be judged by the Father.
Let’s pray … and ease up on each other with the judging. Choose love … if you’re tempted to judge, simply choose love instead. Whisper a silent “Bless them Lord.” Then go about your day unless you can offer any kind words of encouragement to the people in the above situations I’ve mentioned.
Judge less … love more.