DAY 5: LOVE IS. . . NOT TO JUDGE - 7 February 2019

By Benescke Janse van Rensburg

A few weeks ago I had a funny encounter. It was around 19:00 that evening when my 5-year-old daughter fell from a bench at home. Her arm began to swell and we realized that we had to take her to hospital. My husband stayed with my youngest at home and my 5-year-old and I left for a private hospital in our area.

The casualty ward at the hospital was full and our waiting time began. During our wait, I overheard that there was only one doctor on duty - it explained the long wait. Around 23:00, we were finally called. I was extremely grateful. Nothing, however, could prepare me for the moment the doctor opened the curtain! There he was, standing in front of us, without both his front teeth.

I'm not naturally someone who judges people, but after a 4 hour wait, the only thought running through my mind was: “Where are your teeth? And how on earth can I believe anything you say to me about my child's arm?!” The doctor continued his work without missing a beat and it seemed as if he knew what he was doing. I therefore kept quiet.

Just after midnight, with the plaster on my daughter's arm, I couldn’t contain my curiosity any longer. I looked at the doctor and said, "And the teeth, doctor?" The doctor’s assistant, who was on her way out of the room, swung around in her tracks. Clearly, she was shocked that I dared to ask the obvious question. What was even funnier to me, was how she walked back – clearly just as curious about the answer as me. 

The doctor explained that he was in a serious car accident a few months prior. He lost his two front teeth in the accident. Although he went for a procedure to fix his teeth, it failed. He had to wait for his mouth to heal before he could go back again.

This made me think. We are easy to judge people on their appearance or actions – the motorist driving like a maniac, the touchy colleague, the slow cashier, the mother who seems to not take care of herself or maybe the doctor without his front teeth. We easily condemn people before hearing their side of the story. In Matthew 7: 1-3, we read: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. ‘Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?’”

May we deliberately, before judging, rather ask the awkward questions or show mercy. Once we hear the full story, we might act completely different. We never know what is going on in someone else's life, until we have walked in their shoes. God bless.

Father God, thank you for not judging or condemning me, but always giving me a second chance. Help me do the same with the people around me. I ask this in the Name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

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