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What're You Looking At?
I was sitting in Wal Mart today while I was waiting for Carla to do what she had to do. While sitting on the bench next to the door, I watched all of the people coming in and going out, and couldn’t help but to begin thinking about all of the memes that are out there about “The People of Wal Mart”. My brother, who used to be a department manager at Wal Mart would regularly send me pictures of all of the strange looking people that came into the store.
But then we have to define “strange looking”. Perhaps these people that we are judging (yes, judging) are strange looking by our own standards, by our own measure. The following scripture came to mind:
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:1-3).
So we try to rationalize our judgmental attitudes in our own mind by saying stuff like “She’s fat, he smells bad, look at those tattoos, what is she wearing?!” It never ends.
“Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.” John 7:24
We all really need to look for that log in our own eyes before we point out the speck in someone else’s eye.
Now I am not innocent of these offenses either. I have done my share of judging others on their appearance, heritage, nationalities…you name it. I could make lame excuses for why I did it, but the bottom line is I was wrong. People will argue the point and say “But he or she is gay or lesbian. The bible says that is a sinful lifestyle, so we should judge them accordingly!”
It is not our place to judge, but rather to love one another. If God has accepted everyone, then why can't we?
There have been people in my life that have led lifestyles that were different than mine. I have had friends and family members that have led alternative lifestyles, and because they were family and friends, I never gave it a second thought. I loved them unconditionally. Is it possible for us to love one another unconditionally even if we don’t know each other personally? I think it is.
In the 8th chapter of John, a woman that was caught in the very act of adultery was dragged from her bed and brought before Jesus for judgment. The men that brought her demanded that she be stoned to death for her actions. Jesus told the men “Let anyone among you who is without sin cast the first stone.” The men realized that sin was sin, no one sin was greater than the other, and that they were not without sin. One by one they walked away and left Jesus with the woman. Jesus told the woman to “go and sin no more.” He did not judge her, but had the power to forgive instead.
Jesus gave us one simple and final commandment. That is “to love one another, as I have loved you.”
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:12-13
Think about the first half of that scripture, verse 12 for a minute. “To love one another as I have loved you.” How did Jesus love us? The second half of the scripture tells us. He loved us enough to go to the cross and die for us.
I don’t know of too many people that are willing to die for another person. We never know the answer to that question until we have to make that split second decision. But the concept of it can really make you pause and think about the choices you make, the thoughts that you think. The thoughts that are in your mind usually reflect what is in your heart.
Once we have achieved the ability to love one another unconditionally (it won’t happen overnight), then we can apply some understanding. Maybe some of the people that you judge by appearance have a good reason to look the way they do. They could be overweight because of a glandular condition or an eating disorder brought on by PTSD or some other stressor. Maybe they are financially strapped and can’t afford new clothes, or they are homeless.
And then there are those that can’t be explained. It is actually none of our business. Take everyone at face value, show the love of God in your own demeanor and move on.
And consider this: Maybe someone is judging you by the way you look.
Copyright 2016 By Del Banks