Let’s not rush to judgment

By Megan Erbacher

We’re all guilty of it from time to time – jumping to conclusions. No matter the situation, big or small, sometimes we can’t help but rush to judgment; and typically we think we are right and the other party is wrong.

But is it really that black and white?

There have been times when I said something or reacted to a situation that was taken completely out of context and in a totally different way than I intended. The same can be said for how I have sometimes mistakenly responded to someone.

I know it’s often easier said than done, but maybe we all need to take a step back occasionally and reevaluate the scenario.

I’m sure most of you have heard the old idiom — don’t judge a book by its cover — meaning we shouldn’t judge the value or worth of something by its outward appearance. The same can be said for situations. Growing up, my mom said this more than once, and it’s stuck with me.

A Proverb that also advises against jumping to conclusions: “Don’t be too quick to go to court about something you have seen. If another witness later proves you wrong, what will you do then?” (Proverbs 25:8).

No one knows what another person is going through in their life, which reminds me of yet another expression that’s been around for as long as I can recall: “Walk a mile in my shoes. See what I see. Hear what I hear. Feel what I feel. Then maybe you’ll understand why I do what I do. Until then don’t judge me.”

I think all of these can be helpful when trying to take a deep breath and reassess a situation.

Maybe the person you passed in the store didn’t mean anything personal when they didn’t say hi or smile at you. Maybe that person had a rough morning because their anxiety is making them feel out of whack again. Maybe the person is unsure how to react in social situations, so instead of talking they prefer to keep to themselves. Maybe the person has a loved one who is gravely ill and they’re unsure how to process it. Maybe they just lost their job. Maybe something is weighing heavy on their heart and while they’re physically present they’re mentally elsewhere.

Or, maybe the person you misunderstood hasn’t found God yet, and they are lost.

Each of us has a unique sense of humor, so maybe the way someone perceives a comment from us is not at all the way we intended it. I’m trying to practice more patience in these situations.

If you are offended by someone, try asking them to explain so you can better understand what they meant. In turn, explain how it made you feel and why. How else can we understand one another if we don’t try, even in awkward times?

If someone does jump to a conclusion that involves you, state your case and explain yourself. If necessary, apologize, and remember that you’ve most likely been that person before who misunderstood.

Besides, let’s not forget we are not free from faults and imperfections. So we could all benefit by being kinder to one another and to ourselves.

Maybe if the person you misunderstood is spiritually lost, the simple act of you reaching out to ask for an explanation may be all they need to find God again.

Let’s do our best to reserve our judgment about others. After all, the only judgment that truly matters is His; when our time comes.

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven” (Luke 6:37).