Rush to Judgment

It’s easy to look at people and make quick judgments about them, their present and their past, but you would be amazed at the pain and tears a single smile hides. What a person shows to the world is only one tiny facet of the iceberg hidden from sight. And more often than not it’s lined with cracks and scars that go all the way to the foundation of their soul. Never judge, learn to respect and acknowledge the feelings of others.  — Sherrilyn Kenyon, Acheron

two young girls laughing behind another girls backThe news headlines are full of accusations, judgments, and jumped-to conclusions. Innocent until proven guilty has been replaced by the court of popular opinion.

And, it seems that the more famous the person, the quicker we rush to judge them. We love to build people up, only to cut them down as soon as something bad happens.

Professional athletes are placed on a pedestal, hero worshipped, at least until they throw an interception, miss a free throw or strike out. Then, we look for any reason to pass judgment. We have no facts, just our bias and uniformed opinion.

We do the same thing with family members, friends, coworkers, and neighbors. We are quick to pick up on the latest rumor, that juicy information and harmful gossip.

“You know my name but not my story. You’ve heard what I’ve done not what I have been through. Go ahead judge me, but you will never understand me until you’ve walked a mile in my shoes, and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.”  –Anonymous

The problem is we don’t know their story. We have no idea what they are going through, what challenges and hardships they face, what pain they feel. As the old saying goes, we haven’t walked a mile in their shoes.

The man, who cut you off on your way to work this morning, just received the news that he has cancer.

The woman in the checkout counter, who was curt and sassy to the cashier, just found out that her husband is having an affair.

The kid that just failed the math test just had her world turned upside down discovering that her parents were getting a divorce.

How would we react in the same situations? Would we want or even expect the benefit of the doubt? If they only knew what I was going through!

Instead of the modern day court of public opinion, fueled by the secular media, what is the proper Christian response to situations that we are bombarded with?

In Matthew 7, we read, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.”

Again, in Luke we read, “Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven.

Example after example in James, Romans and Ephesians drive home this point. We are not to judge, condemning, gossiping, and spreading nasty rumors.

“We can never judge the lives of others, because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. It’s one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it’s another to think that yours is the only path.” — Paulo Coelho

We are to “walk a mile” in their shoes, get to know the real story, the whole story, the pain behind their behavior, and maybe then, we will have a greater understanding of their situation.

We never know the battle that people are fighting. As author Sherrilyn Kenyon reminds us, we would be amazed at the pain and tears a single smile hides. Let’s make an effort not to be one of those people who are quick to rush to judgment.

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