by Rebecca Zickert
At the drive-through window, my thoughts swiftly began to string together judgment upon the woman behind the glass. Thoughts happened so quickly, I could hardly capture one before the next began.
Catching them, I mentally “slap” myself: “You don’t even know her!” And I turn toward the window again. But it’s as if if my brain forgot the “slap” just seconds before, and the judgment and assumptions about the stranger began again.
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else . . .
Turning away again I thought, “She is God’s. How dare I judge? Her heart may be huge. Her kindness abundant. Her story crushing. I do not know her.”
What I hadn’t thought about was the woman on the other side of the drive-through window: me. The woman who was doing the judging. Where was her heart and kindness?
…for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself . . .
A third turn, and at last I begin to “see” her face. I cast aside another thought that begins to sneak in. I see her. My heart and mind soften and I catch a glimpse through God’s eyes. This time, the struggle ceases.
But it will happen again. In my humanness, no matter how strong my desire to be free of judgmental thoughts, I’m not sure they will ever be completely captive. Whether I’m judging on appearance or status or behavior, I need to continue to remind myself that it is not mine to judge. In the end, judgment only leaves the person on the other side of the window — me — to be judged by Someone much greater than mankind.
So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment?
My prayer, therefore, when battling intrusive thoughts about others, is that God’s kindness towards his children (including me in the midst of my thoughts) leads me to repentance and a renewed mind. Demonstrating kindness to myself (verses contempt) as I strive for God’s best allows me to experience grace as I move closer to God’s design for us. And then, by His grace, I can show His kindness to others.