It always interests me and yet annoys me at things we say about people driving in other cars down the interstate, people sitting at different tables at restaurants, people behind the register, and in general, just people that we don’t know. Those we have never seen before and never will again. We automatically make judgments about those whose stories we know nothing about. I fear the judgments being made about me at times. I have a limp, and I can barely move my left leg properly. When I meet someone on the sidewalk: Will they stare? Avoid me? Awkwardly look at me, see my limp, and look away? Ask or assume what’s wrong? When I pull over to the side of the road and stop on the interstate so that I can listen to a job being called and type in numbers on the keypad (substituting): Will those who I just passed wonder what happened, if only for a fleeting moment? Will they think to themselves, “Why did she pass me so quickly if I’m just coming back now to pass her? What was the point?” And I really appreciate those who I pass (while my car is on cruise a few mph faster than them), who will speed up to pass me, and everyone in the vehicle glares at me as they do so. I have heard many rants and observed for myself how putting a cash register between two people changes the attitude of a customer to one of entitlement; and giving the cashier attitude is what they deserve, because they weren’t allowed to budge in line or their card was rejected.
I confess that I, too, am an avid maker of quick judgments. I assume a motive of why a person is driving way faster than anyone else, and I write it off as them being idiot drivers. What if they are rushing home because of an emergency? What if someone in the car is in need of something immediately? There are so many judgments that I used to be so quick to make, but am working on. I would judge those unmarried and living together, those who have children out of wedlock, those who are homosexual, those who have three or four spouses and/or many kids, each with different fathers or something, among other things. I am very traditional, and have all those traditional values. But I DON’T KNOW THEIR STORIES. I don’t know why somebody is like the way they are, and it is wrong for me to assume and degrade a person for an action I only see from the outside. I don’t know WHO they are, so what right have I even to judge? When someone asks for my opinion, I may give it. And I have opinions about those I’m close to because I know them well and I care about them. I try to understand, and I fully support my friends and family, with whatever choices they make.
Words mean a lot to me, so when someone says something unkind or not thought-through, I am hurt by the comment. But when a stranger compliments my lipstick or says a kind word, my day is made.
I challenge you to be more conscious of how your attitude and words may affect other people’s lives, if even in a moment. To make this world a better place, it starts with US and the million choices we make every day. Pass on the positivity! Have you sent a smile to someone today?
1 Thessalonians 5:11, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”