Judge Not – by A.J. Avila
We all have a tendency to jump to conclusions.
That was certainly the case for me one time after a visit to my local library. Back then I was still single, and so I had gone there alone. On the way out, my arms laden with books, a rather seedy-looking man—who obviously hadn’t bathed for quite some time—held the door open for me. I thanked him as any lady should do when extended this courtesy.
But when we got outside in the parking lot, it was a different story. It was night, and except for the two of us, the lot was empty. I could hear this guy’s footsteps right behind me. And he was whistling the way a man whistles at a woman he thinks is attractive.
I began to panic. If he grabbed me, I had no defense. Fortunately, the police station shared the same parking lot. It occurred to me I should turn around, hurl my books at him, and run for the police station as fast as I could.
As I approached my car, I readied myself. To my distress, the footsteps were getting closer, and he was still whistling. I whipped around, about to pelt him with my books—
—and fortunately discovered what was really happening.
He wasn’t whistling at me.
He was calling his dog.
I have to admit the greater part of the reason I thought he was going to attack me was because of his appearance. Yes, I had judged him based upon that.
In Matthew 7:1, Christ admonishes us to “Judge not, that you may not be judged.”
So . . . what does that mean, exactly? Some folk seem to think anyone who judges another is guilty of breaking this prohibition. But then, ironically, those who think that way have already set themselves up as judges.
Does it mean I can’t judge someone without the proper placard or license plate parking in a handicapped space? Well, no—but also yes.
I can judge that it is breaking the law to park in such a space without the proper authorization. However, I can’t judge what is inside the heart of the person doing so.
For all I know, he missed the sign saying it’s a handicapped space. For all I know, he forgot his placard at home. (Not, I believe, that those would make any difference to a police officer who merely sees the car parked there.)
I can, in other words, judge an action, but I can’t judge a motive. We can’t judge even someone like Hitler that way. We can judge Hitler’s actions as wrong. But for all we know, Hitler was insane and therefore not responsible for them. Only God can infallibly determine that.
I’m sure that man in the library parking lot had no idea he was scaring me. I’m certain he wasn’t thinking about me at all.
I was right to be cautious about his actions.
But I was totally wrong about the motive for his behavior.
Posted on November 21, 2017 by ajavilanovels. Visit A.J. Avila at Avila web page