Last week at church I momentarily was an ass. Don’t worry, no one saw it. No one knows about it till right now. But I was and I knew it. Here’s the story.
In the middle of our service each week we take a moment to shake hands and greet each other. Last week at that time, I was near the back of the auditorium and I saw a young couple that I know very well just arriving for the service. I glanced at my watch. They were 30 minutes late. As I headed to greet them, I began to judge. These thoughts quickly raced through my mind:
- Half of the service is over.
- You can’t succeed unless you are punctual.
- It seems really odd to arrive 30 minutes late to an hour long service.
- I’m glad I have never had issues with arriving on time.
- Etc, etc, etc….
When I got to them I hugged them. They were wet with perspiration. That was when it hit me. They were late because they had walked over three miles with their toddler to be at church in nearly 90 degree heat. I had judged them and I was so wrong.
What is even crazier is I know this couple’s story. They both work very hard to try to succeed. When the wife worked at the Atlanta Airport Starbucks, her husband would get up and walk her and their baby to the bus stop a mile away at 4:30 in the morning. Then he would walk with their baby two more miles to a sitter where he would drop off his son and then walk two more miles to his job. At the end of the day all of this would be reversed. I have never had a day in my life when I had to walk to a job, a bus or church. That Sunday morning, I let a judgemental thought cross my mind about two people who were doing their absolute best. Shame on me.
I don’t like it when I judge. It seems small minded. I want to be remembered for living a big life. And big life people cut other people slack. A big life recognizes others have struggles we can’t even imagine. Big life focusses on being the best person I can be without judging others. Friends, stop judging. It really is ugly.
Ian Maclaren said it well. Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.