“Don’t judge me!” I often use that phrase in a joking manner. I might mention to my mom about the piles of laundry in my living room: “Don’t judge me!” I tell her. Or I might vent to my sisters about me losing patience with my kids: “Don’t judge me!” I will remind them. The other day I walked into the living room with a bowl of ice cream even though I’ve been trying to lose weight. Jeff looked up at me, and I instantly replied “Don’t judge me!” 🙂
One of the most
misquoted verses in the Bible is “Judge not lest ye be judged.” People use that verse all the time to mean “don’t tell me what I’m doing is wrong or that there will be consequences to my sin- that’s judging!” I’ve also heard good Christian people use it to mean “I don’t want to confront my fellow believer about their sin because the Bible says not to judge.” What I think Jesus actually meant when He said that was “don’t condemn others or you, too, will be condemned.” Don’t form a harsh opinion about someone based on outward appearances. Don’t self-righteously point your finger at someone, assume the worst, or condemn them to destruction when you don’t have all the information or don’t even know them! Give people a chance. Look for the good. Forgive. Don’t judge.
I’ve had jury duty this month. It’s been an easy month, so far. Yesterday was the first case we’ve had the whole month…and I got selected to be on the jury. Out of 150 potential jurors my number was called. Because I am not from around here I don’t have any history with any of the people in the case and I’m not related to anyone in the courtroom, I made the cut and ended up having to serve on the jury. It has been interesting to see the role of the judge in the courtroom. But for a few minutes I took on the role of the judge in my mind. As the various juror numbers were called I evaluated whether or not I thought that person would be a good addition to the jury. Were they too old to hear all the evidence? Were they too young to have any real experience in making decisions? Were they dressed badly? Did they look tired, or distracted, or bossy, or strung out? One guy had come to the courthouse at the same time as me. He rode up on a motorcycle on that 40 degree morning. What was he thinking? Good thing I went through the security checkpoint first! They made him take off his coat, vest, belt, chaps, and steel toed boots before going through the metal detector. As he entered the courtroom I noticed his scruffy beard, mis-buttoned shirt, and torn jeans. He smelled bad and his eyes were glazed and had dark circles under them. He was very skinny and seemed distracted and uncomfortable. And I judged him. “He looks like a druggie. I wonder what he’s on? Looks like a meth-head. I can’t believe he would show up to court like this. I’ll be he’s high!” Then his number was called to be on the jury with me. “Great. Just what we need. A drug addict on the jury. Looks like he’s had something stronger than coffee for breakfast, too. I hope the judge notices and kicks him out.” As the attorneys began their questions of the jury to determine which 13 jurors they were going to select I watched him shift and squirm in his seat. Finally, the judge asked if there was anyone who had anything weighing on their minds that would keep them from focusing on the facts of the case. The “druggie” raised his hand. “Yeah, I’ll bet you do,” I thought. When the judge called on him he answered: “My wife has cancer. She started her chemo yesterday and was sick all night last night. I can try to stay and be on the jury but if I’m not home by this afternoon she won’t have anyone to take care of her during her next treatment.”
My heart was cut to the quick. There are tears in my eyes as I am reminded of my judgmental spirit. “Forgive me, Lord. Please help this young man and his sick wife. Please don’t judge me the way I silently judged him. And may this remind me not to be so quick to condemn others so that I, too, will not be condemned.”
I have to go back to court to finish our case today. I have to wear jeans because I wore my only pair of dress pants yesterday and dropped ketchup on them during lunch. I sure hope that people there don’t see my tight jeans and assume I’m a loose woman! Maybe when they see the candy bar I’ve got hidden in my purse they will cut me some slack. Don’t judge me! 🙂