(1)You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. (2)Now we know that God's judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. (3)So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgment?
God never ceases to amaze me, or maybe my choice words should be "humble me" with the most heart-wrenching situations. I can be such a judgmental person and it's just another thing He and I are working out in me, but I need to tell you or confess to you what I did this past week.
Phil and I were having lunch at a little cafe in Lincoln, IL. It was pretty busy but we took a seat in the side room and started up a conversation, something we're never short of in our relationship. Another couple came in and sat in the booth across from us. Neither of them smiled, neither of them spoke. I'm not sure why this always catches my eye but it does when I "study people". We continued sharing and I continued to watch them, still- neither smiled, neither spoke, so my curiosity rose. The entire time we were there, I only saw one time they spoke and no smile ever passed between them. I thought to myself, how sad that kind of life would be. I assumed that they were very unhappy and obviously miserable human beings.
A week later I was sitting in a hair salon and watching the local news. It was a story of a family from a small town close to us that had a terrible crime happen to them. Five members of this family were murdered in their home. The news announcer went on to say they had spoken to the father of the victims and then switched to the interview- guess who's face I saw??? The couple that had just sat next to us the week before at the cafe! I pointed to the TV and said "HEY!- I just saw those people in Lincoln!' My heart sank.
The more I thought on it, sitting there listening to this fathers heartbreak, the worse I felt about judging them like I had. I had assumed that they were unhappy people by nature and that was their chosen disposition. I believe I was terribly wrong. It's never easy to loose someone you love. We've all lost loved ones. This couple had lost two young CHILDREN. The pain that they must be feeling is what I imagine to be unbearable. And I had the nerve to sit there and analyze them like they were a case study in social outcasts. Shame on me. At that moment, I wanted so badly to turn back time and return to that cafe, give them a smile of my own and tell them how very sorry I was for their loss.
Friends, I am so thankful that we serve a Savior that is our Judge. It's His job- not ours to judge. Only He knows hearts, whether whole or broken, words, whether silent or spoken. He is in control of yesterday, today and tomorrow. He loves us and I will remember that it was He, that sent His Only Son to die for a judgmental sinner like me. It is my prayer that if you pass someone less fortunate this season, smile- you don't know their burdens, their trials, their heart- but God does and remember to shine His Light on someone that might be alone in the dark, facing a holiday without a loved one for the first time. God and only God gives wholeness- God and only God judges.