We have all been guilty of it: judging others at first sight. As we walk down the street or through the grocery store, we start creating labels for those we come in contact with. We meet someone for the first time and we immediately make a judgment call on the type of person they are and how they are different from ourselves.
God has been working on my heart to stop doing this. He asked me, “How do you feel when others do the same with you and are wrong about who you really are?” I told him that it makes me feel alone and not want to hang out with others so they won’t have the opportunity to decide who they think I am. I can’t live in a bubble and not interact with others so this simply will not work.
Yesterday, I set out to move a bush (pictured above) that my husband has not liked where it is located and I thought it would be a fairly easy task. It is about a foot high and we cut it down a couple of years ago and it grew back. So the roots should be easily dug around and the bush relocated, right? Wrong! It has roots like a tree about 2-3 inches thick, but there is no way to know that until you start digging below the surface.
I saw this video (Similac commercial) on Facebook a couple of years ago, about moms and dads judging each other because one breastfed and another fed his or her baby formula, one mom worked and another did not, etc. The end of the video brought me to tears as one of the babies in a stroller starts rolling down the hill. All 50+ moms and dads start running after the baby stroller to catch it. They celebrated together that the baby was safe and forgot about their differences. The differences between them did not stop them from protecting this child. Most parents have one goal: protect our kids from anyone or anything that is reasonably possible.
On Friday afternoon, I went to see the new “Beauty and the Beast” movie with my two older daughters. The theater was pretty full with only about 20 seats empty. I purposely got to the theater early to find a spot for my 6 year-old, Zoe to sit without anyone in front of her so she could see the movie easily and not bother anyone in front of her. The seat in front of her was empty. Once the lights went out and the previews started, a woman sat in front of her and leaned way back in her chair so that Zoe had minimal foot space. She started texting on her phone and screamed at her son to stop doing something. She sat her backpack in the chair next to her so that no one else would sit there but a family came into the theater late and asked to sit there. She huffed and puffed and removed her backpack from the seat. The woman had complained to the children sitting on her left and began loudly shushing them as the movie started. I immediately thought, “Why did I have to get stuck in front of THIS lady? She really has some issues and is going to ruin the movie for us.”
This is one of my favorite movies so I did not want to miss a moment of it, but this lady was making it hard. God kept reminding me of what he had challenged me to do (stop judging people on first site). I was wanting to fight it and tell this lady to just sit somewhere else as there were other seats available. Zoe had dressed up in her Belle costume with shoes to match so it was hard for her to tuck her feet under the seat. Then, the lady started in on Zoe’s feet touching her chair. She kept turning around and telling Zoe to keep her feet to herself. The lady looked around and told me that I needed to switch seats with my child as “we both know” that she isn’t going to stop and this is not going to work for her for the entire length of the movie. My initial thought was to tell her to deal with it or move seats. She was making everyone around her miserable. I had already missed parts of the movie due to her outbursts.
God reminded me of something I had learned earlier in the week at M.O.P.S. (Mothers of Preschoolers): do not let someone else’s feelings control your own. I had to make a good choice for everyone around me so I quickly picked up my stuff and Zoe’s items she was holding so we could switch seats. The space for my feet and legs was so small and I still hit the back of her chair a few times shifting my feet (not on purpose), but God taught me a lesson. Don’t let someone else control how you are going to react.
Normally, I would have pouted to myself and come up with ways to annoy this person bothering me to teach them a lesson. Then, I would have regretted it because I would have missed out on this spectacular movie and taught my girls that it is okay to let other people’s actions control your own actions.
God reminded me that I did not know what was going on with this woman. Maybe she was having a bad day or is going through some tough times. I just didn’t know all the details so I needed to love her where she was at during that moment in time. It changed my whole perspective. I was able to enjoy the movie with my girls with minimal disruptions (after all I took a 6 and 10 year-old). I still have plenty of work to do in this area, but I learned a valuable lesson and could display this lesson to my girls.
I need to show other people love because this may be the only time that hour, day, week, month or year they will see light in their dark world. John 12:46-47 (NIV) says “46 I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. 47 If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.”
You may never know when you will get the opportunity to make a difference in another person’s life. Go out there and show God’s love to others!