This afternoon my husband and I went for a walk to the conservation area up the road, we were walking on the boardwalk that crosses over a swamp and we passed a group of school children. These kids were probably in grade one or S.K. and as we were coming past some boys I heard the one boy say to the other "you don't even know what a duck is..." in a greater then thou voice. And it struck me that this critical spirit comes out even in the very young. This is where we as parents play such a huge role in our children's lives; as young impressionable children they look up to us, they watch us, they listen to us, they see how we react in stressful situations and they take it all in whether good or bad and then they mimic our behaviour. It's important that we not just teach our children to love others and see the good in others but to live that way ourselves or our words are just empty.
So why is that we always notice the flaws in people first instead of the good? This reminds me of a Bible story from John 9 where Jesus is walking along with His disciples and they come across a man blind from birth and the disciples ask Jesus "who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus replies that neither this man nor his parents sinned and that it happened that the work of God might be displayed in his life. And then Jesus goes on to heal him of his blindness. Often times I ask that the Lord give me eyes to see what He sees. I pray that I am able to see the heart of a person and that I can look past what I may deem as flawed. We are called to love one another and the Lord places no guidelines on what that means.
He doesn't say only love the beautiful, or only love the smart, or only love those who don't annoy you, etc. He says love as I have loved you.
We can judge people so quickly in certain situation when we don't even know the whole story. I know for myself I've had to step back in certain situations and say to myself, you don't know where this person comes from, you don't know what their day has been like, you don't know what life is like for them at home, you don't know what their upbringing has been like, etc. It does not mean that any of these things give excuse for awful behaviour but it may cause us to have more compassion and understanding. We are so quick to judge when a mother yells at her kids in a grocery store or can't seem to keep them in line and think what a rotten mother she is...what would happen if instead we offered to help. What if love and concern was our first response instead of criticism and judgement. You may think you're only one person and what difference will it make, well over time it makes a huge difference. Jesus was one man and He made a world of difference and so can we.
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another."
John 9: 34
We never know what journey a person is on and so we must be careful in how we judge or criticize.
We don't see their life clearly unless we offer to walk along side them and help them in their areas of difficulty.