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The subtle ways we judge others

I used to think I was a better Christian whenever I sat next to someone in church whose Bible didn’t have as many underlined passages as mine.

Then one day, my husband Bert bought me a new Bible for my birthday. The clean pages made it look like I never read my Bible, and I realized the error of my ways.

What about you? Do you find yourself making quick assumptions about people? If we observed our own behavior, we might be surprised to discover the subtle ways we judge others.

A child behaves uncontrollably, and we’re convinced their parents are poor disciplinarians. 

We see an overweight person and assume they have no self-control.

Whether or not our assumptions are true, passing judgment on others is always hurtful. And, let’s face it, sometimes we assume things about others when we don’t have all the facts.

Could it be possible that the unruly child might have a form of disruptive behavior disorder? Or that the overweight person might suffer from a severe thyroid problem? Perhaps the person sitting next to you in church whose Bible looks like it’s hardly read might be reading from a recent birthday gift – or use an electronic copy the rest of the week. Or maybe they just don’t like to write in their Bible.

When we feel snubbed by someone at work, that person could be embarrassingly shy. Maybe the unsmiling cashier wasn’t being intentionally rude but had just learned his father was terminally ill. What if we label a woman as immoral, only to discover later she’s pregnant because she was raped, but was too ashamed (or scared) to tell anyone?

Most of the time, we’re simply unaware of what’s going on with the majority of the people we encounter.

We all know how it feels to have someone mis-assume something about us. Not great, right? What if we moved past our first assumptions and asked God to help us be more loving, considerate and thoughtful? How might others respond if we were kinder? What sort of bridges might we build? How many more opportunities might we have to share the gospel?

First Corinthians 13:4 (Amplified Bible) defines love as “kind and thoughtful.” Whose day can we change today by being more kind and thoughtful… and a whole lot less judgmental?

Sheryl H. Boldt, a Franklin County resident, is the author of the blog, www.TodayCanBeDifferent.net. Connect with her at [email protected].

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