Rush to judgment? Not me!


I have usually considered myself a fairly non judgmental person. At least that is what I try to be. Nevertheless, I learned this week some truths about myself which have given me reason to work harder on this attribute.


My IPhone needed repair so being in Florida rather than home, the search was on for a good place to go for this work. We found a repair location through Google at the local mall so the thought was Sid would drop off my phone while I got popcorn and the repair would be done while we watched a movie showing at that mall.


When he returned to the theater he told me the repair was not at a brick and mortar store there, but rather, was being made at a kiosk. This statement caused me to worry. I have all of my personal information on that phone and who knows who works at these places? They seem so temporary. I prayed and hoped for the best but in my heart I was clearly being judgmental about a person working at such a location.


As if to shine His light on this failing, when we went to pick up my phone, the person working there couldn’t have been nicer, more trustworthy in appearance, more kind. There are times we must be cautious but this was not one of those times.


In a Shabbat encouragement a couple weeks ago I referenced a person who when she met me began a discussion about my being a Cohen in relation to other conversations she had just had about there being other Cohens living in the area. My assumption since she wasn’t Jewish was that the discussions at the least were focused on Cohens being Jewish, if not worse, and her remarks made me uncomfortable. I later learned she is one of the nicest, kindest people around, so again, my negative assumption resulted in a false judgment.


On a roll here, there’s a rather nice looking guy here who comes across a little too flirty and seemingly full of himself in social settings. (Sound judgmental?) As I’ve gotten to know him, he actually still works on overcoming a slight stutter, a result of his underlying insecurity and probably low self esteem. Underneath the bravado he is nothing like how he presents himself.


All of these events have occurred close in time to my watching the scene with the Pharisees in “The Chosen” that I discussed last week. In our understanding of the rejection of Yeshua we know that some but not all Pharisees were in agreement. Yet the nuance that I recently have been pondering is that it is likely most Pharisees were actually unable to hear His words and understand them (even less able than the apostles who through daily teachings from Him still struggled to understand Him). The Pharisees were so steeped in what they thought to be true based on lifetimes dedicated to study of the Law that to take Yeshua at His word would actually be heresy in their belief systems. They listened but could not hear.


We say these words, but if that is true, it is not unlike judging my neighbor here who has a slight stutter even though he presents himself as so macho? When we hear the story around the Pharisees and Yeshua, we often focus on it wasn’t all the Jewish leaders who rejected Him which is true. Yet the further revelation is those who did reject Him couldn’t do otherwise. For them, at that time, it was an impossibility given how they were educated (taking aside it was part of God’s bigger plan). So when we think of those leaders negatively, we are judging their actions unfairly. Perhaps how we interpret this episode of history is yet another example of God giving us more opportunities to work on our tendencies to judge.


In situations involving safety it’s important to judge people and we can make mistakes which are forgivable. Other than that how often are we judging others even when we don’t think we’re doing so?  I’m not talking about the obvious ways we think about this question, the clear examples like thinking someone is stingy or too fat or too thin.


What about the more subtle ways we analyze another: “I won’t ask for her help since she’s got a lot on her plate. It will be too much for her.” “He never offers to help.” “She seems so short tempered.” “He doesn’t like those things.” “They’re so disorganized.” “She’ll be too tired.” “He won’t understand.”


Judging others can be so subtle, and so insidious. Other than for safety reasons, I can’t think of an example where it’s a good thing to do. In Scripture we are cautioned not to do it. Maybe that’s why when we do so we do it so poorly. Perhaps we’re designed not to do it!


Thank God (not an expletive, but really!) that it is only He who designed creation so that only He is to judge. Only He. We mere mortals seem drawn to it despite ourselves, and when we do, we are blind and fail, for we really are not to do it. It’s on the spectrum of lashon hora, gossip, only we’re saying it to ourselves.


I am so grateful He has illuminated this truth and so grateful we can rest assured in His Grace that His judgment will be just. For it is His Grace that ensures this result. Our job is to do our best to keep remembering to walk in our brothers’ and sisters’ shoes in every interaction and just keep loving.


Thank God for God.


Shabbat shalom.


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