But you, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister?
For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For it is written, As I live, says the Lord,
every knee will bow to me, and every tongue will give praise to God.
So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.
Romans 14:10-12 (CSB)
Because You Just Never Know
Every Sunday morning I made an extra effort to walk up and down the aisles at church. Since I was new on staff, I wanted to shake hands with the adults, smile, and say hi. All the church members received me with cheerful greetings and friendly hugs. All except one.
This one lady never reciprocated any warmth toward me. Each week I’d say hello. But she’d only mumble a weak “hi” in return. And sometimes she’d just give me this blank expression . . . and walk away. I kept thinking: What’s wrong with her? She’s not friendly at all. In fact, she can be quite rude! What a terrible example of Christ! Hmph!
I judged her.
Then one Sunday I sat next to a new friend and whispered, “Gee, she’s not very friendly, huh?” I nodded in the direction of the grumpy lady.
“Oh, that poor woman,” she replied, “she lost a young daughter a few months back, just before you arrived. It was so tragic.”
I felt convicted. My conclusion about this person was based solely on what I could see with my eyes and hear with my ears. She was grieving — struggling to breathe. It must have taken every ounce of energy she had just to get out of bed, get dressed, and show up at church.
I asked God to forgive me and to bring her face to mind whenever I meet someone I’m tempted to judge after a first impression. You just never know what heartache another person might be going through.
After this misguided judgment call, I decided I’d rather be easy on people. I’d rather give grace. Because you just never know . . . maybe the woman in desperate need of an added measure of grace… is me.
Is there a hard-to-love person in your life?
Ask God to help you grow in grace for that person today.
Because you just never know what another person might be going through.