“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? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:1-5
Today I was on my way to work and stopped off a gas station to buy gas. As I pulled in I was not looking forward to the fact that I was going to have to get out of the car to stand on sore knees to pump gas. Pumping gas was better than the alternative which would be having to walk when I ran out a few miles down the road. (For those of you who don’t know I had knee surgery a week ago and the other knee is scheduled for surgery 3 weeks from today so standing and walking is very painful at the moment)
A few minutes later I had finished pumping my gas and I had my car door open with one leg halfway in the car. Just then a big rusty beat up old car came smoking and chugging up to the pump next to me. As the car stopped the car’s driver, a worn and disheveled looking man was waving at me and saying something which I could not understand.
“What?” I said. He said it again and once again I could not understand him. “Not today,” I thought, All I wanted to do was get in my car and go. Leg coming back out of the car and hanging on to the car door for support leaned closer and said, “Sir, could not hear you”.
He spoke again this time he was waving a card of some sort but still I could not understand him. Oh how I just wanted to get in my car and go! But no it was not going to happen today… by then I had received that nudge…you know the one…the one from the Holy Spirit that says, “Go!” Slowly and reluctantly I began hobbling my way over to his car,
As I was on my way over I was thinking to myself “T what are you doing? This man looks kinda scary”. I am ashamed to say now that yes I was judging him. I guess in my mind I decided that because him and his car were beat up and also he had a bit of a crankiness to him that maybe he could be dangerous. Add to that the fact that today I was feeling rushed and also sorry for me! I just wanted get in my car and get off my sore legs but I was in too deep to back out now!
As I arrived at his car door, once again I said, “I am sorry sir but did not hear you.” By then he was looking as if he was stressed and I thought he may be annoyed with me. once more he spoke, this time I heard him, He asked, ” Are you going into the store”? “Nooooo!” I thought, the last thing I wanted to do was go in the store…” No I am not”, I said about the same time as I spied a huge pile of clothes in the back of his car with a walker thrown on top of them. Seeing the walker made me feel a nudge of guilt but I still said “I just had knee surgery and I paid for my gas at the pump so I would not have to go in.”
He looked at me as if shocked and he replied, “But I can not walk at all”. So much for getting out of here easy, there was no way I was I ever going to be able to walk (no pun intended) away from this now.
The next words out of my mouth were “what do you need?” He said, “I need someone to go in the store and get one of the people who work here to come out and pump my gas and take this (he held up gift card) in to pay for my gas. I told him I had a better idea, I would take his gift card in, pay for his gas and then come back out and pump his gas. He gave me an odd look and instead of saying okay he said, “no, get a worker.”.
Go get a worker….Really??” as I was standing there looking at him all the sudden a light bulb went off in my brain… he did not trust me!
Here I had sized him up and decided that by his disheveled look, beat up car and cranky attitude hat he may be dangerous while at the same time he had decided, that I may be a thief and steal his gift card!
Ouch! feeling a bit ashamed of myself I began hobbling my way into the store.
A few minutes later as woman who worked at the store pumped his gas I was driving off pondering the question – What does a thief look like? Do I look like a thief? I also began thinking things like, the man had a walker but he was driving, how did he get in the car, did he scam me into doing stuff for him because he was lazy? He was also very cranky and never really acted thankful or said thank you. Did I deserve a thank you? yep…more judging.
Could it be that maybe we are just supposed to treat our fellow man with kindness regardless of the way they treat us? Could it be that maybe we are not expect anything in return? I know nothing about that man or his life, he needed help is all I know and that should be enough.
I have many things to think about and many new lessons were learned today.
1. No matter how bad I think I have it someone else always will have something worse. I have sore knees but someone else may not be even able to walk.
2. No matter how much I think I do not judge others, I still do. I had sized this man up by his appearance and decided he may be untrustworthy or dangerous it never dawned on me that maybe I could be the one who was thought to be untrustworthy.
3. GRACE. I do not know his story and he does not know mine. He is one of God’s children just as I am. Do I deserve a thank you? A thank you is always nice but the answer is – No. We should all take care of one another and love one another. How many times has God done things for me that I did not say thank you for?? The Sun rises and I have air to breathe, do I remember to say thank you every day? I should but I don’t always remember. some days I spend thinking about what I do not have or what is wrong with my day completely forgetting what is good and to say thank you for that. I should always extend the same grace to others as God gives to me.
And last lesson learned today….there are always lessons to be learned.
Dear Father, Thank you for showing me that I still have a lot to more growing to do. Thank you for showing me that we are all your children. Thank you for allowing me to meet one of my brothers at the gas station today and please forgive me for judging him. Please continue to show me how to not judge others and to be thankful for the many blessings you provide me every day. Please continue to show me how to always extend love and kindness to all people as you do to me. Thank you for letting the sun rise today and thank you for the air I breathe. Amen