Matthew 7:1,2 – “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.”
On Friday, a friend of mine posted a status on Facebook regarding the judgemental looks she received when going into a car dealership with her children and her two foster children. The post broke my heart. How could people possibly be so shallow not to even consider that those two little girls were not her own? They look nothing like her or her children. Yet, here they were having a meltdown in the dealership and instead of someone offering to help out, they just stared and offered nothing but condemnation.
Gets your blood pumping, doesn’t it? I bet you are saying to yourself “how cruel and uncaring.” I know I was.
And then I continued reading about her intervention to the girls’ meltdown. She took them outside for some quiet time where they continued their tirade and people leaving the building continued their glares. And then something happened- my friend began to cry. She said she wasn’t crying because she was frustrated or upset. No, these tears were, in part, due to her own conviction that she too had been the one glaring at some point in time.
How many times have you walked into the grocery store and heard some child screaming and thought to yourself “man, I hope they are at the end of their trip and not the beginning.” Or you got behind the person in the check out line paying for their groceries with change. Or you are next to the person at the airport who can’t seem to figure out how the loading procedure works.
We have all been there and judged. We have all done that – never taking time to consider another side to the coin. But why do we not think that for some children the grocery store is way too stimulating and it makes their sensory issues go into hyper drive. Or maybe that person paying with change has been having such a difficult month that change was all they had to buy that gallon of milk. Or maybe that person at the airport is burdened with so much grief that standing is an effort.
We never know what people are dealing with in their everyday life. Yet, we find ourself casting mental stones all the time. At least, I know I do. It is an area of conviction that God has laid on my heart these last two days.
What if, instead of automatically assuming the worst, we automatically saw them with His eyes? Would we have more compassion and understanding or would we want to turn the other cheek?
It is so much easier to judge and cast those mental stones. It takes work and effort to accept people and their circumstances. It takes work to want to be involved in someone’s life. And too often, we are so taken with our own stuff that taking on someone else’s problems has no appeal. Cast that stone and move on, right?
Not according to Jesus. He reminds us here in Matthew that you will be judged the same way you judge. Try that on for size! It doesn’t fit so well. It hurts. We want grace and mercy. But giving it out is a whole other ballgame.
So this week, I challenge you to see the opportunities to hold back those stones. Don’t throw them so quickly. See others the way Jesus sees them – just as broken and in need of Him as you are.