I’m going to be very honest. Judging has been sadly a big part of my life. From people that I see as I am passing by on the street, to people that I have meet before. Now although we can judge people in certain cases (point four in this blog post explains this quite well), I personally am one to be very judgmental without a good reason. Nevertheless, God has those plans of knocking people off their high horse and showing them how little they actually know. I myself have not been exempted from this event either.
About a year or two ago I was at this special prayer event that my parish sponsored. There were not tons of people there I noticed as I waited for Mass to start. Then there was this teenage guy who walked in with his dad. He was wearing a great Catholic t-shirt whose details escape my memory. That was not what caught my attention initially, though. Covering a good part of both of his arms were these big tattoos (they were flowers-roses if I recall correctly). I was thinking to myself how that was unusual. I also like that is a bit of a paradox having tattoos and that shirt *. I was then starting to wonder if his dad had dragged him to this prayer event. Anyway after the prayer event there was some socializing afterwards. And of course this guy came up and we got talking, we were the only teenage boys there. In the course of the conversation, he shared with me that he had had a conversion. Evidently he had gotten mixed up in the wrong crowd but had changed his life. In the course of his previous life, he had gotten some not so appropriate tattoos that were covered up by these “new” ones. He also mentioned how people were rather judgmental of him and his tattoos (yeah I was thinking “oh boy what have I done”). Our conversations continued and we each went our ways. We have never seen each other since.
So why this story?
- Appearances can be deceiving (to use a cliché saying): I had made a judgment about that guy when he walked into that Church based off of what I had seen on his arms (avoid of course his shirt and piety). We don’t know what people are going through or have gone through. Many times we are oblivious to critical information, yet we make our judgments.
- It is easy to get focused on one part of a person and forget or ignore the rest of the person. When I made my rash judgment, I focused in on what was on the arms, which is not easily removed. Instead of looking at his piety or his Catholic shirt (which he did not have to wear), I looked at something that has made its mark on him, instead of the “new man”.
- I am not God. Just like the Devil tempted Eve in the garden with the false promise of “being like God”, (which incidentally they were already but that will have to be a different blog post), so I fell to that temptation of being God and knowing everything.
Long story short: don’t judge because you don’t know everything that is going on. Also, we all will get knocked off our high horse at least once in life. “Pride comes before the fall.” It is actually a rather effective means to keep us humble, at least for a little while. Don’t judge because, “You know my name, not my story.”~Athena Orchard