Thursday, June 23, 2011

june 23: on judgments

Si and I walk on the sidewalk in front of his house. The old man sits on his porch, cigarette in hand. As usual. It seems he is always sitting right there smoking.

A tiny dog is tucked into his free arm. For the first time ever, the man smiles back at me and then he talks. A lot.

I am shocked, but listen and learn.

It's now been a year since we moved into the rental house across the street from this old man and his family. Honestly, I wrote them off long ago. Pretty much from day one. There was something about them that seemed off. Suspicious. Dirty. Run down. Lazy.

Not one bit my ideal type of neighbors.

Sure, I'd give the old man a courtesy wave when I drove by, but I judged him. Oh yes I did. Big time. I figured he did the same for me. He never waved back.

Earlier this week, I thought about how I couldn't wait to move away from this street and meet our new neighbors at our new house.

Today is the first time the old man and I have spoken words more than a quick "hi".

We stand in front of his porch - an unlikely pair. He in ratty jeans and me with my shiny sandals. He talks and talks for 10 minutes. And in that time I learn that he is a great-grandpa. His wife is bedridden {I didn't even know he was married} so he spends a lot of time on the porch because he can't leave her alone at all. That porch is as far as he can get. His new dog was abused by it's previous owner, so it is terrified of people. The only one the pup trusts is him. When he tells me this, I say "Well, it shows. Look how content and comfortable he is in your arms."

The old man beams.

And in that moment, I regret the unkind thoughts and judgement made against him.

I was so stinkin' quick to judge. And for what reason?

Convicted, I ask God for forgiveness as I wave good-bye to the old man. He plops down into his usual chair and says "I'll sit for a while and then get the meatloaf in the oven. I'm sure my wife is hungry."


I like to think of myself as being a kind, loving person. Someone who is open minded and chatty and friendly.

While I may be those things, I am mostly a constant sinner in need of a gracious Savior.

I pray that God would use today as a lesson and a reminder for me.

No judgments. Slow down. Chat with folks. Listen. Encourage. Speak kindly. Forgive. Love.

Will you do the same, friends?


  1. Seriously, Rachel. I just want to HUG you! Thank you so the may be a sinner, but you are forgiven! What a sweet ending to your life on that street. I'm sure you made that man's whole WEEK! :)

  2. This gave me chills. I do this...alot, the judging thing. I don't think of myself as judgmental, but when I really examine my heart close, I cringe at how apparent the judging is.

    Thank you for this.

  3. Thank you for that loving reminder. I am sure that you and Si made that man's day. We just never know do we. What a blessing to know we are forgiven. I know I am guilty for judging people too.

  4. Thank you for this. The 2 biggests and I read in James today about getting rid of the filth in our lives. We have all been there, Rach. I'm so sick of judging. What a waste of time. I'm praying your prayer, right along with you today.

  5. What a great reminder. I really appreciated this pOst because I am guilty of doing the same.

  6. Oh yes, I definitely do this sometimes and then I find out something that makes me realize I'm such a dummy for assuming things about people. Good reminder ... I'm glad your neighbor turned out to be a nice old man :)

  7. I'm guilty as well... thanks for the reminder to not judge a book by it's cover.

  8. Rachel, it's been a VERY long time since I have read any of my favorite people's blogs, but I just happened upon your post today. All I have to say is that your post moved me to tears. You are truly an amazing woman and I'm honored to know you. Your post was so honest and real it just spoke to me. I know that we are all guilty of doing this from time to time. Thank you so much for your honesty and for the reminder to never judge a book by their cover. ((HUGS)), my friend.

  9. loved this, how true this is for me. how I judge people for things that really might not even be sins for them the way they are for me because *I can't see their hearts*

    beautifully written, thanks

  10. "No judgments. Slow down. Chat with folks. Listen. Encourage. Speak kindly. Forgive. Love."

    i just love those words you wrote...and for sharing this story with us. a wonderful reminder that things aren't always what we assume; to give people a chance; and listen...really listen to what people have to say...and encourage those around us as best we can. yes, i will try my best to do all those things right with you. :)

  11. I think we're all guilty of this but hearing that even you judge sometimes too, makes me be able to face it a little easier. I really try to make a conscious effort not to judge and guess what the other side of the coin is, but it's not always so easy.
    Thanks for sharing :)

  12. i love this, rachel. you have such a way with words and i love the gentle conviction...i so needed this. thanks for the reminder, sweet friend.



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