“Judge not according to the appearance, but judge [with] righteous judgment.”John 7:24
My family and I used to frequent a Chinese restaurant that we absolutely loved. I have eaten there since I was in the womb, and I imagine the food my mom consumed there made me do figure-eights in the amniotic fluid I was swimming in. I took Rebekah there when we first started dating and we too used to eat at that restaurant quite often. We loved it so much that my parents rented the upstairs room for our wedding rehearsal dinner. I was in heaven that night as they brought out unlimited pork fried rice and some of my other favorite dishes. They had a waitress there who often waited on us, and we liked her so much that we requested her for the rehearsal dinner. After we were married, Rebekah and I continued to frequent the restaurant and it became a normal part of our Friday night routine.
I started to work downtown with my cousin, and she loved the restaurant as well. Our families celebrated birthdays, graduations, and anniversaries at this restaurant, so if you were in the family, you were well familiar with it. My cousin’s birthday came around, and we decided to go to the restaurant for our lunch break. We sat down and the same, familiar waitress was working and she came over to our table. I was glad to see her, but she did not seem to share the same sentiment. I was puzzled that she was not as excited to see me as I was to see her, but I figured she was just having an off day.
My cousin and I went there several other times after that during our lunch break, and the waitress always gave me a dirty look and I could not figure out why. I tipped her well and had not said anything negative about her, so I dismissed her looks and thought it was just me being paranoid. I went there another time with my family, and she was super-excited to see my wife and parents, but still not very cordial with me. I finally put two-and-two together when our extended family joined us, along with my cousin as well. Our waitress realized that the lady I lunched with was my cousin and not someone I was stepping out with on my wife. I laughed as I thought about that, and I immediately fell back into the good graces of our beloved waitress. I am not sure if my food received the saliva treatment, but I was glad she no longer had beef with me.
The verse is short but it is powerful in its meaning. We must be careful how we view people as we do not always know the full story. We often do not know the context of a situation, and we must be careful in our assessment. We should not assume the worst in everyone and everything we see. Romans 14:13 states, “Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge (decide) this rather (instead), that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion (cause) to fall in his brother’s way.”
What about you? Is someone guilty in your eyes before you know the full extent of the story? Are you one who is quick to judge others? Do you seek to know the truth, or are you too excited to gossip about what you have seen? Matthew 7:2 tells us that we will be held to the same standard we hold others to,“For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete (use), it shall be measured to you again.” May we be more concerned about spiritually helping people, rather than condemning them and passing judgment. God is the only righteous judge, so may we, in our unrighteousness, be careful in how we judge others.