John 7:24 – Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgement. (KJV)
At the end of our holiday through Spain and Portugal last fall, we had returned our rental car and were waiting for the bus to our hotel at the airport in Madrid. An older gentleman with ruffled white hair, wearing a rather rumpled "once-white" T-shirt and baggy brownish pants pulled up past his waist and supported by suspenders, was lying on one of the benches with his bags propped up by his feet, which sported a pair of well-worn shoelace-less leather shoes.
A policeman came by and stopped to speak with him, so he sat up. They obviously knew each other, for the conversation in Spanish was friendly and animated.
After the policeman left, I walked over to the gentleman and offered him all the small change in Euros I had left. It didn't entail much really — just over two Euros — but it was something at least, I thought.
To my surprise, the gentleman refused it, saying in perfect English, "No, thank you. I'll take cigarettes or food, but I don't ever take money. It's not my style." I had neither cigarettes nor food, and his response threw me off somewhat, for it was quite the opposite of what we usually receive in Canada. Most often we are asked for money only.
As was the case throughout most of our travels, he assumed I was an American, but once I said I was Canadian, we had quite a lovely discussion, for he was well acquainted with Canada, having been to several places in his younger days.
How often in our lives do we assume or prejudge someone or something, and taking the time to explore further, end up being pleasantly surprised — if not even a little embarrassed — at our prior presumption?
While we may prejudge each other, God does not prejudge us. It's not His style. Our lives on earth are given to us with choices. Our judgement comes at the end of our lives when our "pages" are full and we are held accountable.
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, You give us our lives and our choices. May we strive not to prejudge each other on appearance, for only You know what lies beneath. Rather, may we seek to learn and understand, and leave the judging up to You. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.