We've all been there.
I've been on both ends.
A thought occurred to me today while walking to my car.
As I was passing a lady who looked very tired, and weary and whose face was showing her age I thought to myself, "I wonder what her story is."
It was then that it occurred to me rather than assuming the answers to all of these question I actually tried to put myself in her shoes.
For the first time in a long time I used my self control to not place judgement.
I wondered where she had been before I saw her...I wondered what was on her mind...I wondered what battles she was fighting.
It was then that it hit me.
The old me would have assigned her a number, and written her off based on appearance alone, but the new me was not going to judge her based on appearance alone.
Why are we so quick to judge?
When we're young we're taught to never judge a book by its cover.
We're taught to take the book from the shelf, sit down at a table with it and read the first few pages in order to get a feel for the book.
But what about people?
People who are real, who have struggles, feelings, and pain,
People who are facing obstacles every day of their lives.
People whose stories are not so black and white like books.
Why are we so quick to assign someone a story, pitch it to ourselves and believe it?
How quick we are to place judgement on strangers!
The truth is by simply passing someone in the hallway, driving next to them on the highway, or even working with them we don't know the battles they are fighting.
We don't know their past or what path they are on now.
We haven't walked in their shoes.
John 7:24 says, "Do not judge with appearance, but judge with judgements."
It has been made very clear we are not to do the judging.
It is Him who is in charge of judging so we need to let it go.
Then of course you have the opposite of placing judgement...
This too is something I struggle with, but thanks to my faith, I know there is only one person who can judge me and that is Him.
This is a skill I am working on day in and day out and many days I still struggle.
This requires a daily commitment on my part to stay true to my beliefs and really know who I am every minute of every day.
I need not answer to anyone else, or worry what anyone else may think.
As long as I know I am living according to His ways and making Him happy I am on the right path.
I will no longer be confined by the thoughts Satan plants in my head, but will stand with Him and fight the good fight.
I will be accepting, and open.
I will learn who people are, what they believe in, where they come from, and the road they have traveled.
I will open my heart, my life, and my door to others I may otherwise not have in the past.
Because of all of this I will grow.
I am forcing myself to step out of a place where I was once comfortable, and am no longer comfortable.
I am going to stretch myself to my limits without placeing judegment on others and without fear of being judged.
I know the One I will answer to, and the One who will answer me.