How many times have you heard that saying, “Don’t judge a book by its’ cover,”? Enough, right?
I took to thinking about that. You see, I never really noticed what it meant to prejudge someone before you even knew their story. It started in my Spanish class. And sitting next to my old roommate from last year, we were talking about some pet peeves in the class and throwing back and forth things we didn’t like, things that were funny, how people pronouced their basic vowel sounds, etc. etc. And eventually it got to where we started talking about other students in the class. One girl annoyed her for some reason and one guy kinda annoyed me too.
So as we were sitting there, talking our talk, I asked her if the guy who sorta annoyed me hadn’t worn the same thing to class last Monday. Now mind you, this class only meets Mondays and Wednesdays, so I couldn’t really remember. We joked about it and snickered, then moved on to something else.
The comment I made really began to bother me as I was doing my homework in the student library on the following Friday and the SAME guy came and sat at the computer next to me. Needless to say, he was definitely wearing the same outfit.
It pained me to realize how I had judged someone I didn’t even know, with no knowledge of any background history, without even so much as a care. I had made fun of him and laughed at him. I had mercilessly ridiculed him under NO fair grounds!
The moment I recognized the same faded shirt and pants, I hung my head in shame because at that moment, all I could do was beg God for forgiveness for how cruelly I had treated a man I didn’t even know the name of. I felt so awful about the whole ordeal that I couldn’t even stay any longer. I wrapped up my assignments and packed my things. But if the fact that God should me how wrong I was to think that I was better than him at all, as I walked past him on my way out, he looked up at me and smiled the most peaceful smile, as if the whole conversation I was having with a bull-horn inside my head weren’t even happening. His kind-hearted smile to me was just more shame heaped on my head. And the thought of having to see him again in class, ….I was dreading it.
Every time I’d think about it, I’d get a pit in my stomach. I was wrong. And I know that what I thought was just as awful as if I had come right out and said it! What I failed to realize is that EVERYONE is different. EVERYONE has a story behind them. And without knowing anything about them, I can have nothing to say. But having been forgiven, my spirit is at peace and I know look forward to today’s class when I can share in a smile with another student.
These are a few verses that I will use, along with my well-learned lesson, to help me to keep my mind and thoughts about others in their place.
“Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” John 7:24
“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. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:1-5
“There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?” James 4:12
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29
To the KING!!