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.
Michele Morin says
As the Body of Christ gathers today, the admonition to let grace flow freely in every direction is perfect. Thanks for words that open my heart to the unseen story behind the difficult people in my life.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Behind every door there’s a story. Behind every seemingly smiling face, there lies hurt and pain. I’ve had to learn, albeit the hard way, that we just never know what people are going through or what they are dealing with. This world is filled with sin and people’s lives are never perfect. I have learned that I have a choice-to assume the best about someone (giving grace) or assume the worst (judgment). With God’s help, He is enabling me to choose to assume the best more often. Such a poignant story and post!
That is so true. We are all so quick to judge and not love. That’s a good reminder, thank you!
Convicted! = Thank you for this important reminder. Will be giving His Grace today as He is giving SO Much to me. Blessings ~
Kathy Cheek, Devotions from the Heart says
That is very convicting, in the iron sharpens iron way that we need as sisters in Christ, thank you. I pray I will give grace instead of judgment today.
Joan Munro says
Michelle, As you noted, not everyone can share their burdens or grief in public, let alone at a house of worship. For one eidower I know, he said church brings back memories of together times or seems to be safe only for couples or families. He couldn’t bear to be there without his beloved wife. It’s easy to judge, but God judges the heart and the motives. We need to give Grace as God gives us grace. It’s a good reminder to take the beam out of our own eye, first!
Beth Williams says
We should never be quick to judge. Some of us are introverts and it takes time to really get to know us. Everyone of us will go through trials at some point in our lives. We should extend grace to everyone and not judge. Sometimes the “grumpy” unhappy ones are those that could use a hug or simple smile. Let’s quit assuming anything & start showing God’s love to all!
Rebecca L Jones says
I have to admit having trouble with that myself,especially as a witness to those with addictions. Their lies have made it hard to talk to them and I’ve had to trust the Lord on when to walk away. Judging instead of grace is the best way to go and sometimes it takes grace to say no to someone as well.