Monday, June 15, 2009

judge not

It happened when I was quite young.

The viewing pleasure of my favorite TV show, The Brady Bunch, was nearly cut off when my grandparents told my parents that they didn't think my siblings and I should be watching such a show. "What!?" was my immediate response. "How can such a G-rated show be such a problem?"

What had happened was my grandparents judged the weekly must see by it's name, and nothing else. They had not actually seen the show and thought it was about some outlaw cowboy gang. [You have to remember that this was back in the '60s] All we had to do was have them sit down and watch it to have them realize that they grossly misjudged it. It was something we could then chuckle about, and still do to this day.

But for me, there was a lesson in the whole episode. 'You can't judge a book by it's cover' became real to me in a new way and I think it has stuck with me ever since.

In Middle School and High School, I had a couple of friends that made a lasting impression on me. One was a spunky red head who wore extra thick glasses due to near blindness. She was constantly ridiculed because of her looks. I spent a lot of time with her and at her house. I saw first hand not only what a normal fun-loving girl she was but the effects of the ridicule had on her.

The other friend was flawless in her looks so, therefore, she was well liked and popular. Here, again, I spent a lot of time with her but not so much in her home. That was because she had a very dysfunctional family. I was never told anything, but looking back at it now, I would guess that there were a couple forms of abuse taking place. This friend once said to me, "I'm not the person everyone thinks I am."

My point is that it is so common for us (me included) to take the easy way out and judge someone or something by what little information we have. It takes more work to go the extra distance to find out what a person is really like or what the true situation may be.

I believe God doesn't want us to judge at all - that's His job. I have to remember that it's not my place to make judgment calls and that I really can't judge anyone unless I've walked in their shoes. Which, of course, I haven't. I also don't want to be judged (Matthew 7:1). This is where one of my favorite verses comes into play.

"Do to others as you would have them do to you." Luke 6:31

Words I try to live by and have tried to teach to my children and students in youth ministry. I write this all as a precursor to what's really been on my mind lately, which I will write about in my next post.


Jamey said...

This is so funny because this is what has been on my mind lately too. You said it so well and actually brought tears to my eyes. I wish there were more people like you in this world. I really try to live by that same verse but get disheartened easily. I have had quite a few things happen in my life where I have lost faith in the human race in general. People can be so mean, kids and adults. People like you give me hope! And people like you make me smile most days when nothing else can...from so many miles away. Thanks!

Just Mom said...

It breaks my heart when people become judgemental based on bad information, fear and/or jealousy. And you know what? It breaks my heart even more when I'm the one who's guilty of doing the same.

I look forward to reading your follow-up post.

Karen said...

Hi there my wonderful Colorado friend!
I think I learned this lesson quite young. And I even remember telling my Sunday School teacher about it at the time. When I was in 6th grade one of the girls in my class got sick and had to have her leg amputated. When she came back, everyone made fun of her. I'd known her since Kindergarten and we had played together on the playground - and it made me mad that the other kids were so mean. So I went and sat with her. And she turned into my best friend in the whole world. Boy, did we get into some mischief together. And even though we lost her in 9th grade, I am still in touch with her folks and think of her often.
I can't wait to see what you are going to post next!
Nope, we don't get a lot of the good flowers here. If they require real cold weather - we just can't grow them. Apparently peonies are one of those. Bummer because they are just GORGEOUS! Another one of Gods simple gifts.
Have a wonderful evening. Karen

nancy said...

a great post, and very important to our times as well. The things going on in our country give rise to criticism from people of our belief system-- when all we really need to do is pray and confess the positive things promised to us.
Thanks Diana, for again pointing out the important things.

Karen said...

This is very timely for me and what I spent my devotions on this morning. Funny how that happens, isn't it? I feel that, once again, I've fallen into the trap of being so critical. Some lessons must be learned over and over again. I'm not a very good student:(

Karen said...

This is very timely for me and what I spent my devotions on this morning. Funny how that happens, isn't it? I feel that, once again, I've fallen into the trap of being so critical. Some lessons must be learned over and over again. I'm not a very good student:(

Mary@notbefore7 said...

Such a great point Diana! Something that is on my mind an awful lot these days as it is so easy to do.

J-ME said...

An excellent reminder. This is something that has been hard to break out of due to some "Christian" teachings in the past. Sad, isn't it, that the place which should be least judgmental, has been the source of teaching some of us to judge others when we have no business doing so.

Amber said...

A beautiful reminder and this has been on my mind a lot lately. My 14-year-old niece has been ridiculed and bullied at school--so much that she is switching schools. It makes me sad when judgments because that intense!

Momma Roar said...

A great post. There is a lot on my mind about this, but I don't feel as I can post about it b/c it is some church/family related stuff.

It saddens me to see the older generation judging the younger generation b/c we/they choose not to feel the same about some of their very closely held beliefs. But God is in control.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Melissa said...

Here's the thing that I've been thinking about though... yes we need to be careful not to misjudge people, but we also do need to be careful where we put our trust. An example: when I was in Jr. High I had a teacher that made me uncomfortable. He paid a little too much attention to the girls in the class. Often calling them into his office. He would try to rub my shoulders or give me hugs. I made a judgement... a choice. I stayed away as much as possible. And it turned out to be a good thing since he was fired by the end of the year for "sexual misconduct". So where is that line that we teach our kids? We shouldn't judge, and yet we have to teach our kids to make some judgments to keep them from being hurt. Do you teach them to judge only some people? Because some judgments need to be made in mere seconds to avoid serious trouble. I'm sorry... I'm not trying to stir the pot ;) You've just hit on a topic that I have been giving some serious thought to lately!!