18 December, 2017

I came. I saw. I judged.


I judged a person once. He came over where I was volunteering at a homeless shelter-like place. One of the other volunteers started talking to him which gave me plenty of time to form an opinion. There seemed to be something not quite right about him, and I thought he fit in well for the category of the place; a prime example of a young man ruining himself on drugs. He was roughly kept, and had lots of bright misshapen tattoos. I was sad, but it was a self-righteous kind of sad. I felt no compassion. 

The next time I was there, he came again. The other volunteers were busy, and this time I listened. He asked my name, and when I told him, he said he had a hard time remembering names. I brushed it off by saying, ‘That’s okay. We all do sometimes!’ But he shook his head.

He told me he was a successful business person; he made a million by twenty-three. He had a family, he had kids. He had everything life had to offer. And then, he had an accident. He was in a coma in hospital for a couple of years, he said. When he woke up, he had nothing. No money, no business, no family. Instead, he had a twitch which left him unable to pour a cup of coffee, let alone work. The doctors didn't know how to fix it. He had to teach himself to speak again, and he had loss of short term memory. That’s why he wouldn’t be able to remember my name.

He went on to tell me he’s only had three people in his life he’d call a friend, and he wondered why we’d go out of the way to help people like him. He told me his first rule to live by is self-preservation, making sure his needs are covered: food, water, and shelter. Anything beyond that wasn’t really a need. He said the hardest thing about sleeping on the streets was people walking past and pretending you didn’t exist.

Every single one of my assumptions – except his age – was false, absolutely ungrounded. I saw past my initial judgements. The cynicism in his voice was because he’s hoped with no expectation too many times. The pain in his eyes was the unspoken question: why?

It leaves my heart heavy. How do you explain the unconditional love of God to someone who’s never experienced sacrificial love? How do you explain why Someone would give themselves in our place to a person who's never acknowledged as a human being? How can I be used of God to reflect Him when I can’t meet a person without judging them? 

I want to shout: we’re all human. We’re all sinners, fallen, struggling. We’re all in the same boat, if only we acted like it. I don’t know how to change our culture’s habits. But I’m pretty sure it starts with realizing humans are humans. I’m not any better than you. I’m not more human than an addict on the street. 

We can do our part. Please: come, see, listen. I have a feeling the world will be better that way.

38 comments:

  1. WOW. I have no words.
    Thank you for sharing this!

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    1. Aw, thank you! I hope it could be a blessing to you. xx

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  2. This is really cool. It’s so easy to judge when we really don’t know the heart or the person. Thank you for this challenge, and for sharing this Jessica :)

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    1. Yes! It seems to be our first response, unfortunately. Thank you for your sweet comment, Sarah. xx

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  3. Very cool. It is easy to judge and also not take the time to listen.

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    1. That's true - our fast-paced society seems to be geared at not leaving time to listen. Thanks for commenting, Loie! :)

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  4. this is beautiful. i can relate. i have done this many a time and am saddened by it. <3

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    1. Me too - this wasn't the first time. May we both be able to see through Jesus' eyes next time! Thanks for your encouraging comment! I appreciate your heart for Him so much. xx

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  5. This is amazing, thank you so much for this post, the message is spot on. <3 <3 <3

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    1. You're so welcome. :) All glory to Him! Thanks for your comment, girl! xx

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  6. wow yes this is amazing and so true. it's amazing how quick we can be to judge when we have no idea who the person is or what they've been through or what they really need. thanks so much, girl <33

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    1. I know; I wish it was fiction. And your point about what they've been through and what they really need - I also fall into presuming things about my friends, when I can't know that about them either. Thanks for your comment, Sarah. I appreciate it so much! xx

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  7. Wow...this really touched my heart, Jessica. <3 I too have judged people by appearance, people who's story I didn't really know. I want to see the good, see them as our Lord sees them, but I fail so often. Amazing post. <33

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    1. Aw, I'm honoured to think it spoke to you. Praise Him. :) Yes, that's my prayer too: to see as God sees, and always presume the best. Thanks so much for your encouragement, Faith. You're a blessing. xx

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  8. I agree with you 100%. Something I feel also. It's so easy to look, and judge people - before knowing anything else or hearing from their own mouth the truth of the matter.
    Im with you Jess, lets, go, see and listen. x

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    1. It is; you're right. Amen, let's by His strength. I'm so glad we're in this together, Ash! :) Stay strong, and thanks so much for your comment. xx

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  9. i wrote a post exactly like this earlier this year!
    really really beautiful post jessica <3 you sure know how to pack a punch, my dear. this story made me want to cry but was also strangely encouraging.
    people like you change the world <3 <3

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    1. What?! I'm not sure how I missed it when you posted it, but I went back and read it - thanks for mentioning it! I really like how you linked it to the following your heart idea. That's powerful, and true: we can't trust our feelings.

      Ah, you have no idea how encouraging you are to me, Sophy! You are so kind and thoughtful. Praise God for anything good you find here, and that this could speak to you. Sending grateful hugs! xx

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  10. I'm just gonna copy sophy and everyone else up there with: you are amazing <333 It is crazy how quick we are to judge, like Sarah said. It's so so hard to tell with people holding up signs on the road/street, which makes everything even sadder. But I'm so glad that you wrote this, it has also encouraged me. <3 <3 xx

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    1. Aw, you know it's all God! It is hard, yes - we really can't trust what we see or think. Thanks so much for your encouraging comment, Paige! You're a sweet light of Christ to me. xx

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  11. wowwww this is profound, Jessica. Something I was just thinking about recently, in fact. Thank you for this.

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    1. That means so much to me, Kate. Thank you! Isn't it so cool when God times things without us having any idea?! It would be great to hear your thoughts on this too. xx

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  12. Loved, loved, loved this Jessica! I catch myself learning this lesson over and over again with my clients. Everyone is a human and loved by God. As His child I must love them too regardless of my inclinations to judge them instead.

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    1. Amen! I agree so much. We have to overcome those inclinations, in His strength. And I think, like you said too, it's something we'll have to learn and relearn before it becomes a habit. Thanks so much for your comment! It's so encouraging to discuss this with like minded friends! xx

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  13. Whoa. This was amazing. I want to not judge, I really want to love at someone and always respond with love. Man, girl, this was insightful and I needed this. <3

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    1. Same, Amelia, same. I want that to be my heart too. I'm so glad this could be what you needed - praise God; it's all Him! Thanks so much for your comment. Stay strong! xx

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  14. Ouch this is so spot on and true, you really hit that deep spot in my heart Jessica...profound. <3 You have this subtly gorgeous talent of storytelling xxx

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    1. You are so kind and sweet - thanks for the encouragement! All glory to God. It's such an encouragement to me also that we share the same heart on this. xx

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  15. "We're all in the same boat. If only we acted like it." And, "I'm no more human than an addict on the streets." Can I just ... tackle you? In a hug? I can picture myself in your shoes so easily, making those assumptions ... and just, wow. What a wake up call. I'm so thankful God gave you this experience, so you could find a new way to see the world and share it with us! <3

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    1. Aw, thanks Hannah! Sending hugs back! :) I'm so glad this could be a blessing to you - I'm grateful others can benefit from my experience too. Thanks so much for your comment! xx

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  16. I am so glad that you shared this post. The story was very meaningful and powerful. Every time I come to your blog I become inspired to be a better person and have more faith in God. Thank you Jessica.

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    1. I'm so encouraged by your comment, Vanessa. Thank you! Praise God - it's my greatest desire here to inspire more faith in Him. Thanks so much for commenting! xx

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  17. Wow. What a story! I like to think that I err on the side of the person, but inevitably, it happens sometimes. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. I think we all fall into that, even when we don't intend to. We're in this together! :) Thanks so much for your comment! xx

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  18. ouch ouch ouch. what a poignant story. thank you so much for sharing it.

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    1. I know, it hit me right there too. Thank you so much for commenting! xx

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