After reading I remembered a night out to Olive Garden with my little family over a long Thanksgiving weekend years ago. My Bigs were probably 2 and 5 and back then going to Olive Garden was a huge deal and something we reserved for when the students all left town and things were quiet. The chair was a rolling chair and had a space between the back and the seat and Riley thought that was the greatest thing ever. His little two year old self kept sliding through the space and then pushing the chair around and getting back in over and over. He was giggling and laughing and really just being a complete pill. There was a man sitting across from us who was of foreign decent and alone at dinner and he kept giving us a side stare. Reid was beside himself upset that first of all he couldn’t make Riley sit still and secondly because he felt this man was judging our parenting skills. Our food finally came and everyone calmed down enough to eat. As the man finished up his dinner he got up from his seat and stopped by our table to let us know how much he had enjoyed watching our family at dinner. He told us he had not seen his family for six months and missed them so much.
It was one of those moments in life that I am positive was placed right before me to remind me about judgement. You just never know where someone is on their journey or what kind of situation they may be dealing with. We have all been there when we make an assumption over a situation based on outward appearance but almost always we do not know the rest of the story.
So here is my challenge for you. The next time you are in a situation where you want to jump to judgement give the person the benefit of the doubt. So many people are battling demons every day from bad marriages to sick children to mental health issues to lost jobs. It is so easy to sit back and say “well if that was me” but it isn’t you and it is not your place to cast that judgement. A friendly smile, a kind word of understanding or maybe even a quick hug will go a long way to making someone feel loved instead of judged. You might just be able to change the course of someones path!
You also may just change your path! Do I still pass judgement? Yes! Unfortunately this is just one of those ways we are broken. What I will tell you is that as you find yourself casting judgement less and less on others, you will find you are less and less worried about whether someone is casting judgement on you!
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