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Freedom From Judging Others

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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 7:3

I’m so good at identifying specks. How about you? I am certain that I know what your character defects are and the way they could be changed to help you maximize your results (and stop pissing me off in the process)! That is all bullshit lingo too. If you didn’t catch it the first time.

I am the master at phrasing things in a pleasant and positive way to essentially get my point across. I may come off as helpful (sometimes) but my mind is judging. Constantly. And it is so very irritating now that I realize it.

Just the other day I was shopping with my youngest daughter who needed a new pair of gym shoes. I asked the young salesgirl for some help measuring Amy’s foot. She was a bit shy and clearly lacked confidence. She was overweight and had messy hair and her teeth were very crooked. She had no idea what to do. My mind was racing with judgments but I smiled and acted forgiving.

She brought what we asked for and while she was kneeling down to help Amy put the shoes on I felt an overwhelming sense of guilt. Why was I jumping to judgment when I don’t know one thing about this girl. So I decided to take on another thought pattern. One of interest, and compassion and love.

“Thanks for bringing out the shoes. What’s your name?” I asked.

“Samantha,” she replied with a smile. I’m still judging her teeth, truth be told.

I continue the conversation and soon uncover that this is her third day, that she got this job to help her mom put food on the table and that there are so many numbers to remember it’s not easy. I felt like a complete loser. Judging a high school student who is doing such a noble thing.

We bought the shoes and walked out. I was deflated and also grateful that I caught myself in the moment of judgment and chose to deny that thinking and engage in a conversation of discovery.

Maybe the world would be a better place if we just asked more questions rather than assuming we know. Maybe we would understand one another more deeply and have fewer resentments. Maybe we would become more sensitive and patient. Maybe we could act from a place of compassion and love.

This is my heart for my interactions with others. This is how I want to show Jesus’ love in the world. Asking more questions. Trying to understand. Catching myself in the moment of quick judgment and acknowledge the fact that I have no idea what is real when I make assumptions.

Hold lightly to opinions and proceed with humility. Make the world a better place one thought, one action, one conversation at a time.

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