The man got out of his pickup. He ran down the stairs quickly. As he did, as if I was sizing up a suspect, I noticed his cut-off sleeves, his see-through thin white shirt, his scruffy beard, hid tattooed arms and his body that was far too thin. Was he on drugs?
I saw him dispose of something next to the sidewalk. What is he doing? Is there evidence he wants to get rid of?
Suspiciously, I kept my eye on him, as he quickly ran off…back to his car.
What did he do? I was determined to find out. So, as I approached the area of the sidewalk where he “disposed of his stuff”, I looked down. And, right between the side-walk and the water, was the evidence — a little turtle.
This “evil” man had rescued a turtle from the road to bring it to the water. He saved it from death to bring it to life.
And, as I looked at that turtle, I saw the reality of me: I size people up too quickly, by appearance, without knowing the reality of their heart.
My head dropped as I walked on. I am well acquainted with another group — who did a similar thing…the Pharisees.
They accused Jesus of healing on the Sabbath, without considering “the heart” behind Jesus’s motives (see: Mt. 12:15-21)
They misinterpreted Jesus intention to heal, missing His heart, by attributing the power to the devil. (Mt. 12:22-37)
They missed the whole new covenant because they couldn’t perceive the heart of God, through Jesus, in flesh and blood.
Let’s not judge, before we seek to understand — real truth. We are quick to size up what we can’t understand. Our natural mind demands we draw conclusions, rather than to wait on the Lord’s answer. Or His deeper meaning. So, we label people before our heart has come to know their real heart-motivation.
But, what if we were to give those around us “the benefit of the doubt”? What if we were to “believe the best”? Wait before sizing-up?
For instance, rather than judging people different than us, we can suspend our thoughts and pray a blessing over them.
Rather than picking apart our husband’s actions, we can choose to say, “I know he loves me. He is doing his best.”
Rather than assuming a friend doesn’t like us anymore, we can say, “I better call her and see how she is doing. Maybe she is having a hard day.”
Rather than believing God has forgotten us, we can say, “I don’t see answers to my prayers now, but I know God has all my requests in His hands.”
We can do something different: preserve our heart. When we wait on the Lord — He usually has a better answer. There are better heart-interpretations than ones we lean on though instinctive reactions.
What might you need to step back from in order to see from your heart? Where might you need to wait, instead of drawing conclusions?