Monday, June 15, 2009

A Judgement Call

Last week I had the privilege of attending a senior high youth mission trip in a rural area of Texas. Our youth group has gone on trips like this with the same organization for the past three summers. Each trip is in a different place, with different participants, ....

This time, instead of being out in the heat swinging hammers, weilding a 3-inch paintbrush, and dusting off the circular saw; I was leading worship, helping plan games, setting up for events for everyone after the day was over. Part of my job was to go offer encouragement to the work teams at their different locations, take pictures, and maybe talk to the owners of the house they are working on.

One of these locations has been burned into my memory. But it doesn't stand out because of the "client's" situation... it was because I assumed. As I walked up to the site the team was sitting with the client and discussing over sack lunches. There was a man sitting on a four-wheeler about 30 feet away. It was obvious that he was there checking on the elderly owner of the house. His body language said "I'm watching you," his arms were folded and he had a very removed disposition about him. I decided that he wasn't friendly and probably didn't like us being there.

After a while at the site I noticed one of the other guys from our group talking with him. I thought maybe he needed to be rescued from an unpleasant conversation. So I went over and was amazed to hear about the struggles this man had been through. He had lost many loved ones, he was there because it was his mother's house we were working on...and the reason he didn't get off the four-wheeler had to do with a disease that had made breathing difficult when walking. I felt ashamed that I had judged this man, who turned out to be one of the nicest clients I've ever met... lesson learned.

"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you too will be judged, and with the same measure you use, it will be measured to you." Matthew 7:1-2

I hope that others look beyond my body language (which was misleading in this case), and actually get to know me before they decide what kind of person I am.

This week, strive to let people be themselves before you decide who they are. I'll try to do better.

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