At one time or another, we’ve all judged someone on looks alone. We’ve looked at a person and we made a knee-jerk decision about them. Even though we’re all guilty of having judged a book by its cover, it doesn’t make it any less deplorable.
An eye opening tale is making its way around social media and was recently sent to me. This story gave me pause to think and do some serious self-reflecting. Do I judge others? Am I a hypocrite? Do I make assumptions about people before even getting to know them? Without further ado, here is the tale that should give everyone who reads it the urge to do some soul searching:
A pastor transformed himself into a homeless person and went to the church that he was to be introduced as the head pastor at that morning. He walked around his soon to be church for 30 minutes while it was filling with people for service. Only 3 people said hello to him, most looked the other way. He asked people for change to buy food because he was hungry. Not one gave him anything.
He went into the sanctuary to sit down in the front of the church and was told by the ushers that he would need to get up and go sit n the back of the church. He said hello to people as they walked in but was greeted with cold stares and dirty looks from people looking down on him and judging him.
He sat in the back of the church and listened to the church announcements for the week. He listened as new visitors were welcomed into the church that morning but no one acknowledged that he was new. He watched people around him continue to look his way with stares that said you are not welcome here.
Then the elders of the church went to the podium to make the announcement. They said they were excited to introduce the new pastor of the church to the congregation. “We would like to introduce you to our new Pastor.” The congregation stood up and looked around clapping with joy and anticipation. The homeless man sitting in the back stood up and started walking down the aisle.
That’s when all the clapping stopped and the church was silent. With all eyes on him….he walked up the altar and reached for the microphone. He stood there for a moment and then recited so elegantly, a verse from the bible…..
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for the least of my brothers and sisters, you did for me.’
After he recited this, he introduced himself as their new pastor and told the congregation what he had experienced that morning. Many began to cry and bow their heads in shame. “Today I see a gathering of people here but I do not see a church of Jesus. The world has enough people that look the other way. What the world needs is disciples of Jesus that can follow this teachings and live as he did. When will YOU decide to become disciples?”
He then dismissed service until the following Sunday as his sermon had been given.
I wish I knew the name(s) of the Pastor and people who shared this narrative, because they deserve thanks. It doesn’t matter if you’re not of the Christian faith, because this tale has a message for all mankind: have compassion, be kind, be generous and, have a heart filled with love and understanding. Don’t judge others harshly, especially if you don’t know their story. After all, we don’t like to have others jump to conclusions about ourself, so why do it to another person?
For our Christian readers, of course, the message is even more profound, since the very center of our faith is Christ — and as we know, Christ is love, compassion, generosity and so much more.
I feel that this collection of quotes on judging others helps to bolster the message:
“We can never judge the lives of others because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. It’s one thing to feel that you are on the right path but it’s another to think that yours is the only path.” — Paulo Coelho
“Judging a person does not define who they are. It defines who you are.” — Wayne Dyer
“Do not judge my story by the chapter you walked in on.” — Anonymous
“The happiest people I know are always evaluating and improving themselves. The unhappy people are usually evaluating and judging others.” — Anonymous
“Not judging people is the fastest way to peace.” — Jonathan Jackson
“There’s a story behind every person. There’s a reason why they’re the way they are. Think about that before you judge someone.” — Anonymous
“When you are spiritually connected, you are not looking for occasions to be offended, and you are not judging and labeling others. You are in a state of grace in which you know you are connected to God and thus free from the effects of anyone or anything external to yourself.” — Wayne Dyer