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.