Last Saturday I mentioned the Google Home Mini my son gave me for an early Mother's Day. I outlined how I had initially been quite disappointed with the machine due to its lack of ability to do the things I was asking it to do. I was sorely tempted to put the thing back in its box; but I didn't. Instead, I allowed my son to set it up on the counter, and I began learning what it IS good for. In so doing, I learned a powerful lesson: We cannot simply write people off because they can't do what we want them to do. Instead, we need to accept them for who they are and appreciate about them the things they can do.

It would seem, however, that there was another lesson my Home Mini had to teach me...

You see, when I came so close to throwing the thing out the nearest window, I was passing judgment on the machine. I was declaring it totally worthless, when in reality, it is actually quite useful for the things it is programmed to do. Especially when I lose my phone! Am I also guilty of judging people as harshly as I was judging that little machine?

You know what I mean. That lady really did drive me off the road. She completely doesn't know how to drive! How can the province of Ontario allow her to have a drivers' license at all?

My mom's neighbour really did call the police on my mom for feeding peanuts to the squirrels. Have you ever heard of anything as hateful, controlling, un-neighbourly?

And my workplace did really cut funding to the excellent, necessary programs I initiated and ran for over 15 years. They are certainly and completely without heart!

But wait. Do we truly see the "big" picture?

One of the things that frustrated me about my little Home Mini was its inability to control my lights, thermostat and alarm clock. After all, it was able to do that at my son's house! What I didn't realize was that my son had some additional equipment required to interface his lights, furnace, etc., with his Home Mini. I do not have that equipment at my house, and in essence, I was accusing my Home Mini of not being able to do something I simply didn't have the proper equipment for it to do! I was judging the crazy machine without all the facts!

And if I think about it, when I judge others, I am doing exactly the same thing...

Take, for example, that woman who nearly drove me off the road. What I didn't know was that this mother's vision was completely clouded by tears as she drove to the hospital to identify the body of her only son. She simply didn't see me. Perhaps it really wasn't safe for her to drive in that state of mind; however, the offense hardly dictated that she have her drivers' license revoked. It certainly didn't merit the judgment I pass on her...

And my mom's neighbour? What I didn't know is that her daughter is deathly allergic to peanuts. The squirrels left traces of my mom's peanuts on her porch, the little girl got into them and nearly died. The neighbour's reaction, as harsh as it may have seemed, was simply a "knee-jerk" reaction resulting from the motherly instinct to protect her child. Sure, sending in the police instead of making an effort to talk to my mom may seem unneighbourly, but it certainly didn't merit the judgment I passed on her...

Then there was my place of work. What I didn't know was that if they didn't find ways to save money, hundreds of their employees, including perhaps myself, would have soon found themselves without a job. Yes, the decision closed the door to helping some of the people in the community; but it ensured that a vast number of others would continue to receive the help they needed. Did they merit the judgment I passed on them? Probably not... 

The point is, when we judge, we usually do so without seeing the full picture. Just like I judged my little Home-Mini as "useless" when I actually didn't have the equipment she required to do what I was asking, we condemn people without knowing where they are coming from. Perhaps it is time to try to see thing from their perspective. Perhaps we need to forgive them, even when we don't understand their actions. Perhaps we need to love them, even when they do wrong. In so doing, we just may learn to see the good in people, even in those who hurt us. Is it for naught that the Scriptures teach us:

1. To not judge? "Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged." (Matt. 7:1 NLT).

2. To forgive? "Make allowance for each other's faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others." (Col 3:13 NLT).
3. And to love our enemies? "You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor' and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven." (Matt 5:43-45 NLT)?

Hey, I think I found another excellent use for my Home Mini! It makes a great object lesson on passing judgement!

In His love,
Lyn

Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.

(To access the entire "The Home-Mini" mini-series, please click here.)