“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." - Matthew 7:1-2
The first time I moved was in 3rd grade. When I got to my new school, there was a girl named Gabby who became one of my first friends at school.
She was a special friend to me, and I liked her very much.
It wasn’t before long, though, that I found out that Gabby wasn’t one of the “cool” girls. And by 4th grade, I had a solid group of friends that didn’t want to hang out with her.
I’ll never forget the day in 4th grade when Gabby came up to me at recess. She asked me if I would be interested in coming to her birthday party. Interested in coming to your birthday party?
I told her no, and I immediately felt guilty about it when she walked away.
I appreciated Gabby for befriending me when I was the new girl, but I didn’t want to be caught associating with someone who wasn’t cool. So, I brushed off the guilty feeling and carried on with my life.
I was shallow, and I wish I could say that I grew out of my shallowness by middle school, but it only got worse.
My group of friends expanded as all the elementary schools in our area joined together for middle school, and I found myself a part of the “popular” girls. I never considered myself popular, but that was the label that was placed on me.
And I became increasingly more judgmental as the years went by.
I only wanted to do cool things, wear cool clothes, and associate with cool people. But the sad part about it all was that I never felt “cool” myself.
I never felt like I fit in with my group of friends, but I shrugged that feeling off too and focused on material things instead of building quality relationships.
Thankfully, I grew out of that mindset. Or so I thought.
This year has been a whirlpool of highs and lows, and I’ve learned so much about myself. God has revealed to me insecurities I didn't know I had, my heart, and my true character in the most unexpected ways.
Most recently, God has shown me that I’m still very judgmental.
Last week, I was listening to a speaker share about how he rarely takes the time to get to know some of the people around him daily. God was speaking to his heart, so he set aside time to chat with one of the young men in his office.
He found out that the man went through a lot in his life. He lived in poverty and never lived in the same house for more than a month. He also didn’t have a father in his life to teach him core values.
What he shared spoke directly to my heart because for so much of my life, I judged people by the things they said, did, or even by what they wore. But the truth is, none of that even matters.
Relationships matter. We may often look at people’s outward appearance, but God looks at their heart.
“But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." - 1 Samuel 16:7
As Christians, we are to love God first and foremost with all of our hearts, and love people. Judging people by their outward appearance isn’t love. Spending time to get to know who they are inside (with an open mind), is.
I reached out to Gabby a few years ago for the first time since 4th grade. In many ways, she was the same—friendly, welcoming, and energetic—but that day I got to know her heart.
And that was a special treat.
My prayer today is that we will begin to see people the way that God sees them—as His masterpiece. My prayer is that we will take the time to get to know people for who they truly are, and not judge them by who we perceive them to be.
Let’s be more loving, one to another. Let’s be more compassionate and empathetic toward others, and let’s be open to learning something new.
You are God’s masterpiece ... and so are those around you.
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Do great things with God.