"We write to taste life twice - once in the moment and in introspection."

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Painful Judgments

She stood alone on the corner just outside the big store.

She was skinny and tired-looking, but gazed hopefully at the cars slowing down for the stop sign. 

We had noticed her on our way into the store, but had forgotten she was there by the time we came out. So I drove a circle around in order to get back to her and to give us time to get some money out of my purse.

We pulled up next to her and my husband handed the money out.

Her reaction surprised and saddened us.

She started crying.

"Thank you so much!" she wept.

Then between sobs she told of the people in the previous car. How they had shouted out to her that she could at least get a job at McDonald's.

"They didn't even know," she told us. "I've been working third shift at McDonald's ever since I lost my factory job."

"But it's just not enough."

I had to wonder when the poor lady got any sleep.

The pain of their judgment was awful to see.

Sticks and stones and words can hurt. In fact, words may hurt more than sticks and stones.

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Maybe we should have jumped out of the car and given her hugs, but we didn't think of it till we were driving away. I wish we'd had more cash to give, too. 

I asked if she'd tried any of the churches around and she said her own church was very helpful. 

I haven't seen her at that spot since and I hope and pray that all is well with her.

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It makes me wonder about the way we judge people. And we all do.

We make assumptions that a homeless person is a bum, or a needy person is just lazy. 

We think we have a right to make scathing comments - being thoughtless actually, or thinking we're funny, or thinking we have a right to tell them how to fix their lives. 

And we might actually know nothing.

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It also makes me think about giving hand-outs to needy people.

We're often so afraid that the money will be used wrongly - like to buy booze or other potentially harmful things. It might be a legitimate fear. I wouldn't want to participate in someone becoming drunk or high or getting lung cancer from cigarettes. And if I knew for sure that the money would be used that way or in some other destructive way, I wouldn't irresponsibly hand it over.

But God tells us to freely give. Even as He bestows blessings even on the wicked.

He relieves us of the burden of judging whether or not that person deserves the gift or how that person is going to use the gift. And He allows us the joy of participating with Him in blessing others as well as giving us the faith to trust that He can keep that person from using the gift wrongly. Or teach the recipient something important if they do use it wrongly.

Hey, it's all His anyhow.


  1. God has been teaching me this same concept... that my part is to obey God's prompting to give, and then God is in control of working in the person's heart. Whether or not they use the money responsibly, God will work it out to His ultimate good. I can't use my fear of "what they will do with the money" stop me from obeying God. Thanks for sharing this story. It definitely blessed and encouraged me!

  2. Amen! So often we judge without remembering that God gives us everything we have, so if He impresses upon us to give it to someone else, that it's His to give! Thank you for sharing and linking up at SHH! Blessings!

  3. I think we forget that but for Jesus, aren't we all the least of these? Poor without Him? We forget His words, His call, to love as if it were unto Jesus himself.
    thanks so much for sharing with us at mercyinkblog.com :)
    pray your week is blessed,

  4. I love that we aren't the ones in positions to judge--how often we would be wrong!! The Lord is all knowing and even perfectly attuned to what that sweet woman needed. You set a great example for us to love her, and not judge. Thank you!

    Carly @ ryandcar.blogspot.com

  5. love this post

    our money is not ours
    and when we have that view
    it allows us to be generous
    and give freely with no strings

    thanks for sharing

    just stopping by from
    ATPF to say hello


  6. I heard a guy say that one of the fastest ways he had new friends without homes was to offer them a cigarette. He hates cigarettes with a firey passion, but it was one of the ways that people judged them and thought they were gross...I don't know what all a person who smokes can feel from a person who doesn't, but it proved to them that this guy was not judgmental, so it helped them open up and not feel like outsiders.

  7. Hard to hear, but so very very true. Ann Voskamp recently blogged that there is enough in the world if we all just SHARE and it's stuck with me. The sad, poor people around us, who else sees them but us and if we see them should we not do what we can?

  8. This is a touching true story. We can send missionaries to far away lands to help those in need but do we help those right in our own neighborhood?!

    Thanks for linking up this week with WholeHearted Home Wednesdays. I hope to see you again this coming week.

  9. This is so sad but true. At least you did go around the block and give her what you had. I commend you for that. I hope that she has done well and I will pray for her. Thanks for sharing.


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