Sometimes we just don’t have the data on hand to make proper assessments of other people.
I read a devotional recently written by a woman who, along with her husband, traveled to Israel with a Christian tour group. One day they visited the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. I’ve been there a couple times, and it is always a spiritual and inspiring moment. However, for her that day, some of the spiritual shine was worn off … at least initially.
The Western Wall is a massive limestone wall where people go to pray. She wrote of watching men, women, and children of all ages and different religious traditions, dressed in all types of clothing, slowly moving to and from the wall. She said that as she made her way to the wall to insert her written prayer in one of the crevices between the stones, she noticed a woman talking on a cell phone. At the western Wall! Couldn’t it wait? “This is just like home,” she thought. “Here we are in a holy place, and she’s talking on her cell phone!” So, the woman writing the article just watched, not believing what she was seeing. However, as she watched, she saw something more. The woman with the phone moved it from her ear to the wall, held it there for a few moments, and then left quietly. She had been helping someone who could not be present to pray their own prayer at that holy site. She had allowed someone who could not make the trip to be part of the experience, to have their moment offering a prayer on holy ground. The writer continued: “I had just witnessed an expression of the faith of two individuals and a loving act. I often recall this event, and I’ve recounted it to others on several occasions. How many times in the course of a week or even a day do we judge before knowing all the facts? And for that matter, what right do we have to judge another at all?”
She was absolutely correct … and quite courageous in being willing to share her story. How many times a day do we judge, critique, look down or, or dismiss someone else without knowing all the facts? That’s one of the reasons Jesus said, “Judge not!,” because He knew we almost never have all the data on hand to make a proper judgment. Another reason He said “Judge not!” was because judging is God’s business, not ours. And He was warning
that the world tends to treat us the way it observes us treating others. If we are lovely and gracious, the world tends to be a bit more gracious with us. If we are harsh and judgmental, we tend to “reap what we sow.” For those reasons, Jesus didn’t simply say, “Judge not!” Instead, He said, “Judge not that you be not judged!”