Yesterday, I was in the contemporary worship service. This doesn’t happen often so I wanted to make sure I cherished every moment.
One of the interesting things about that service is the offering is taken immediately after the sermon. This is either really good or really bad. It all depends on the quality of the sermon. And because Pastor Kit was preaching, I knew the ushers were going to need wheelbarrows instead of offering plates. That’s when I saw it.
Claire was one of the ushers. She is in seventh grade and she’s in charge – of everything.
As Claire took up yesterday’s offering, she came to her parent’s row. She put the offering plate in front of her father. Craig shrugged his shoulders and pointed to Claire’s mother. So, Claire put the offering plate in front of her mother. Suzanne said something to her insistent daughter but Claire wasn’t budging. This surprised me because Craig and Suzanne are good supporters of our church’s ministries. I didn’t understand why they weren’t putting anything in the offering plate.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, Claire moved on to the other rows. This got me thinking.
Looking at the events that had just unfolded, it looked like Craig and Suzanne had no intention of giving to the church, but I know them, their history, and their dedication to Jesus Christ. That’s when I realized I had better not judge because I didn’t have all the facts. I was right.
After the service ended, I walked over to Craig and Suzanne to find out what had happened. As I approached, I said, “After what Claire did to you, she is my all-time favorite usher.” Suzanne said, “I knew you saw that. I’ve just lost my checkbook.” That was the moment all the missing pieces fell into place. I was relieved I had not judged.
Sadly, I do this on a regular basis. I make snap judgments without all the facts. This is not the way a devout Christian lives.
Jesus said, “Don’t judge, so that you won’t be judged. You’ll receive the same judgment you give. Whatever you deal out will be dealt out to you. Why do you see the splinter that’s in your brother’s or sister’s eye, but don’t notice the log in your own eye? How can you say to your brother or sister, ‘Let me take the splinter out of your eye,’ when there’s a log in your eye? You deceive yourself! First take the log out of your eye, and then you’ll see clearly to take the splinter out of your brother’s or sister’s eye.” (Matthew 7:1-5 CEB)
So, today, I am going to refrain from premature judgment. The rude cashier’s marriage may be falling apart. The inconsiderate driver may be stressed out because his son is using illegal drugs. The cranky customer at the grocery store may be worried she doesn’t have enough money to pay for food. Life is hard for many people.
Today, follow Jesus’ advice. Don’t judge. God errs on the side of grace with us. God expects us to do the same with others.
Prayer: Dear Gracious Heavenly God, give me words of kindness, a heart filled with grace, and a mind filled with compassion. Help me ease someone’s heavy load. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Just for the record, I am only using Craig and Suzanne’s first names. That way, no one will know who I’m talking about.
Also, don’t judge my subject matter for today’s devotional. It’s hard to come up with something new, day after day.
I pray your day is filled with joy and laughter.