“Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon and you will be pardoned.” Luke 6:37 (NIV)
Do you ever think you know (or you feel positive you know) what someone’s thinking and find out later you were totally wrong?
A while back I asked my nephew to help me with a project. My husband was out of town on an extended business trip and while he was away I restructured his home office. I worked all week and was almost done so as to surprise him on his homecoming. The finishing piece was to get the computer and printer equipment moved and set up. That’s where my nephew came in. He is good at the”techie” stuff and agreed to come over after work.
On that particular day it was raining “cats and dogs”. The wind was blowing westerly at about 20 mph bringing the rain in sideways. It didn’t let up all day. About 5:00 pm the phone rang. It was my nephew, Joe. He said he wanted to stop at home first before coming over in order to let the traffic die down and catch a bite to eat.
I could hear it in his voice. He sounded tired and I could tell he really didn’t want to drive over. He reassured me that he would be there and he would even bring Cheryl (his wife) with him. That sounded great to me. It had been a while since I’d seen Cheryl and I wanted to catch up.
An hour passed and the phone rang again. Again it was Joe on the other end. This time he voiced his uncertainty about coming, giving the harsh weather conditions as the reason.
I felt sure in my heart that he had settled in for the night and just didn’t want to bother coming over. I tried not to show it but I was angry (livid). After all he said he would be there. This was the last day to get the office ready for my husbands surprise and my nephew (in my selfish view) was spoiling it by not cooperating with my plan.
How dare him back out on me! If it was something he wanted to do not even a monsoon could keep him away.
I went to bed that night with a gnawing feeling in my gut and I knew it wasn’t what I had eaten for dinner. The next morning the hard knot was still there. I still felt burdened. I wondered if my nephew had detected the anger in my voice the night before? Why was I so bothered by this? Half praying and half talking to myself I said, “Lord didn’t I have him pegged in not wanting to come over? Wasn’t I right or did I read him wrong?”
As I was pondering this thought I was reminded of a time a few years ago when the tables were turned and I too was misjudged by a couple family members. It’s still painful to think about. At the
time I cried many tears over being misunderstood.
My husband, our two boys and I always made a trek to visit relatives the day after Christmas. This particular Christmas was no different until our beloved (and enormously large, 23 lb. with a 13″ tail) cat, Butterscotch, became ill Christmas night. (What is it about pets, they always get sick on the weekends and holidays when the regular vet office is closed.) Knowing that we would be leaving the next morning and that a neighbor would be looking after our pets, I felt I better take him into the Emergency Vet Hospital.
After a few hours, a few tests, and cha-ching all my Christmas money, Butterscotch was diagnosed with having a severe glandular infection. I was instructed to give him multiple prescribed medications and to watch him carefully.
What was I to do? We were supposed to leave in the morning. I called everyone who normally looked in on our pets but no one dared to volunteer to give Butterscotch the necessary medications (he was difficult to handle because of his size and strength). I had to make a decision.
Without the antibiotics the vet said he would most likely become septic and die. The only thing to do was to send the family on and stay behind.
I felt horrible. But what made it worse was the reaction I received from some family members. The long and short of it was some thought I would rather stay home with the cat than come visit for Christmas.
Nothing could have been further from the truth. They couldn’t see into my heart and it hurt to be misunderstood.
Suddenly I realized what had bothered me from the night before. I was pretending to know my nephew’s heart and I judged him unfairly. Maybe he really did want to come over. Maybe it really was the rain that kept him away. Maybe he was afraid he might get in an accident.
I sent him a text message and told him I was glad he didn’t come after all. Only he could make a decision on how hazardous the roads were the night before.
He was grateful for my understanding and it was then that I felt my burden lift….. I had, in a sense pardoned him.
We can’t even pretend to know what’s in someone’s heart. Only God knows that. The real truth. When we let our minds wander, we often make presumptions that we simply do not know are true. Poisonous presumptions. And that’s when we rush to judgement. Sadly most of us (including yours truly) do this on a regular basis without even realizing it.
I may not have gotten the computer set up in time for my hubby’s arrival home but I learned a valuable lesson about making presumptions.
As the verse says, do not judge and you will not be judged; do not condemn and you will not be condemned; pardon and you will be pardoned. Thank God we have a Savior who covers us with His grace and pardons us from our sin because there are times when I can be one big mess.
Next time someone doesn’t do what I want them to do, I’ll take them at their word and take my second guessing to Jesus. It’s not my place to deal with the motives of others, I have enough trouble with my own. You see, I’m not a heart doctor but Jesus is.
Can you think of anyone recently that you might need to pardon because you perhaps made a quick judgement?
Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for being a discerning and forgiving God that doesn’t just presume to know my motives but looks straight into my soul where they are born. You see the good and the bad and you love and accept me just as I am. Help me to love the way you do. In Your precious name. Amen