Just yesterday, I was waiting for a class to start at church and sat down in a wheelchair and decided to see how well I could get around some places, drink at the water fountain, etc. Within 5 minutes, I had several people ask me what happened and if they could help me, to which I said I was just trying something out. Afterward, I commented that everyone should spend a day in a wheelchair to get an appreciation of how life would be different. A friend made a revealing video of what a day in his life is like. Most of us, including myself, have no idea of what it is like being dependent on a wheelchair or other device, but when we spend time around others who are, we get a much better idea. We also get a glimpse into the kindness and cruelty of others.
Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly. John 7:24
It is easy to judge others, in fact this is often our default setting. Its not always overt, where we go up to someone and tell them they need to do something differently, but it is usually subtle in our hearts and minds. We like to think that if others would just act like us, drive like us, and do as we do, the world would be a much better place. That is until someone points out our own faults, and we try to hide or justify them. We like to judge and talk about the misdeeds of others because it tends to validate our own actions in comparison. ‘Well I know I do that, but at least I’m not like them, didn’t kill anyone, or get caught stealing, etc!’
You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. Romans 14:10
What is your standard for how to treat others? We have heard the saying ‘Don’t judge a man until you walk a mile in his shoes.’ In other words, treat others as you would like to be treated. If we take it a step further, we could even say, treat others better than you would like to be treated, because isn’t that what God did for us? We deserve his wrath, but through Christ, he has shown us His forgiveness and love. When we experience this mercy, how much more are we compelled to act the same toward others? When you go above and beyond what others expect, the light God put in you will shine in a dark world.
But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. Luke 6:28-32