by Crystal Bowman
My friend’s mom died when her children were young, and they had few relatives in the area. I became a surrogate aunt, and her son and daughter called me Aunt Crys. Every so often, I would go on a date with one of her kids to give my friend a break. Her son, Noah, who was nine at the time, loved to go miniature golfing, so one day I took him to the local course.
After our round of mini golf, we stopped at his favorite burger place for lunch. We ordered our food from the cafeteria-type counter, and I brought our tray to a booth. While I was setting our food on the table, Noah went to the beverage station to get a cup of decaffeinated coffee. A man walked by my table and said, “Isn’t he a little young for coffee, Mom?”
I bit my tongue and pursed my lips to avoid letting angry words project from my mouth. Since Noah would have heard my reply, I kept silent. But in my head, I said, “Excuse me Mr. Judgmental-Know-It-All, first of all, I am NOT his mom. Secondly, I am spending time with him to give his mom a much-needed break. And if you must know, Mr. Nosey, his doctor suggested he drink a cup of decaf coffee once a day to neutralize the bitter taste he gets from his anti-rejection medicine that he will take every day for the rest of his life due to his kidney transplant two years ago. So, mind your own business when you don’t know the facts!”
Since that day, I often give myself that same advice—to mind my own business when I don’t know the facts, because things are not always what they seem to be. It is so easy to pass judgment when something we see doesn’t seem right, thinking we know better. However, it is not our place to question, comment, or give unsolicited advice, especially when we don’t know everything about a situation.
In John 9 we read the story of a man who was born blind. As Jesus and His disciples walked past the blind man, the disciples asked Jesus, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
Jesus replied, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned. But this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world” (John 9:2-4 CSB).
After saying this, Jesus spit on the ground to make some mud, then He spread it on the man’s eyes. He told the man to wash in the Pool of Siloam. The man did as Jesus said and went home seeing. The disciples had jumped to a wrong conclusion based on what they saw, rather than learn the truth about the matter—that Jesus would use this man’s blindness to show His healing power. The man’s blindness had nothing to do with sin.
I need to remind myself daily to avoid jumping to conclusions based only on what I see. Maybe there’s a good reason that five-year-old girl is sucking on a pacifier in the grocery store. Maybe there’s a good reason your neighbor keeps her shades down until noon. Maybe the couple in your church who come late and leave early have something serious going on at home.
We need to support each other with compassion and understanding, rather than hold judgmental, know-it-all attitudes. Many people struggle just to get through the day. Their problems are real, and they may be hurting inside. Rather than being quick to judge, we need to be kind and loving to one another. Isn’t that what Jesus would do?
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:2-3 NIV).
This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Crystal Bowman is a bestselling, award-winning author of more than 100 books including, Our Daily Bread for Kids. She and her husband have three married children and seven huggable grandchildren.
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Join the Conversation. Do you tend to jump to conclusions about people?