May 2014

First Impression by Lil Saunders

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way as you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Matthew 7:1,2

I heard him before I saw him; the tip of his umbrella tapping on the floor as he approached. This was his walking aid. A few weeks before he had hidden behind the local shops within the small shopping precinct to count his collection. He was the local beggar on the High Street.

As he tapped his way into the shop crowded with customers, I ignored him totally. I was convinced he was coming to beg money from me or the customers and I didn’t want to encourage him. He stood patiently waiting to one side, saying nothing. Having dealt with all the other customers, I finally turned to him and asked him if I could help him. He handed me a slip of paper. On it was an order for a packet of hair colour 613, hair length 18ins and a bottle of glue. Guilt washed over me and I breathed a silent prayer, “Lord, forgive me for judging this customer.”

My preconceived ideas of this gentlemen had placed him in a category where he was not connected with any immediate family, and now, here he is in my shop buying products that were popular with the younger generation. This experience taught me an important lesson. It made me reflect on my behaviour and my attitude towards others.

It is so easy to judge others by their appearance, and while we are content with our relationship with friends and families, we hold at arm’s length the beggars, the homeless, the teenage mothers, the drug addicts; the very people in our society who are crying out for help. Matthew 7:1,2 says, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way as you judge others you will be judged, and the amount you give to others will be given to you.” In verse 4 we are told to look at ourselves. Look at your faults and shortcomings before you look at those of others. How many times have we judged others without knowing their background?

  • In our ever changing world we are daily encountering people and communities that present a new experience. How are we responding to these individuals?      
  • That experience made me realise that the world around me is changing and that I need to adapt, and not to be so judgemental when dealing with my fellow man.
  • The ability to be adaptable and embrace others will be one of the characteristics of God’s people at the end of time. One of our favourite authors tells us, “God in his providence has brought men to our very door and thrust them as it were, into our very arms, that they might learn the truth” (Ellen White Evangelism p 597).
  • Look at the opportunities I will miss if I keep judging others! Matthew 7:12 reminds us to treat others the way we would like to be treated. May God help me to remember that each person is a precious individual to Him, despite their circumstances, and to treat them as my own family.                                                                                                                                


Leave a Reply