Hundreds of people filled the tiny room, as we shuffled through to take our number. Four little ones in tow, we crowded into the last empty chairs. The floors were filthy and the room was filled with a stench so thick you could feel it. It was only a few weeks after he left and money was already falling short. I needed help fast and this was the only way to get it.
I looked around the room as we waited. Coach purses, iPhones, and perfectly manicured nails were just a few of the white elephants in the room. My mind was filled with confusion. Am I not sitting in the social service building applying for food stamps? How on earth could they afford such things. A bit miffed, I clutched my Vera Bradley bag a little tighter to keep my own iPhone from being revealed.
Suddenly I could feel the heat of judgement rush over my entire body. Had I seriously just had ugly thoughts about this woman sitting next to me with her iPhone when I had one in my own bag? I tried desperately to defend myself. But, my Vera Bradley bag was a gift from my husband several years ago. My iPhone was being paid for by my sister who has a great business account with super cheap plans.
As I prepared my defense for the judge, He whispered in my ear. Yes, my child, and isn’t it possible that the other people in this room have reasonable explanations for their expenses, too?
For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. Rom 2:1-2
My heart was consumed with guilt. Who am I to judge? I don’t know her story. Perhaps she is sitting in this office for the very first time, finding herself in a desperate situation out of her control. If I didn’t chose my circumstances, maybe she didn’t either.
As I drove home filled with a wave of emotions from the experience, I saw his sign. Tattered clothes, scraggly beard, and a lifetime of possessions on his back, he begged for help. For a second I balked at his plea for money, but before my mind could find the usual excuses, I remembered. Maybe he didn’t choose his circumstances. Maybe all the judging in the word could not possibly reveal to me the sorrow and brokenness that might have paved the road to his cardboard sign.
Maybe I should be less consumed with WHY he’s here and more consumed with WHO he belongs to. Because even if he has a BMW parked in the parking lot, Jesus still graciously and mercifully adores him.
He is calling me to do the same.
Lord, open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers. ~Casting Crowns
Do you struggle with critical thoughts about others? How have you overcome such thoughts?
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