Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

January 13, 2011

Pre-judging

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:00 am

We hear much of profiling these days.  It is a recent term used for pre-judging people.  Whether I use the word profiling or judging, there have been times when my mind painted a scenario that was not necessarily true.

One that overshadows all others happened when we ministered in Miami.  Our church was  on Flagler Street.  Caution was needed for our location.  Violence was not uncommon.  Each time we had broken windows, they were replaced with what was considered “bulletproof” glass.  Although we were a multi-cultural congregation, there would be those who drew a watchful eye when they entered the church.

One Sunday evening I had just begun to preach.  Two men entered the sanctuary and proceeded to walk down the center aisle.  It was obvious that they were coming to the front row.  I saw our people looking with suspicion.  They were large men, dressed in black leather.  Each was carrying a large Bible, similar to those large family Bibles placed on a coffee table.  I believe that many of our people feared that inside those Bibles were weapons.  They wore large heavy boots and protruding from the toe of the boots were  metal spikes about 3 inches long.  I assure you they had my attention, and I know that no one in that service was listening to a word I said.

With a watchful eye, I continued my sermon.  The two men sat on the front pew.  As we looked at each other, they both nodded with a brief smile.  I sought to concentrate on my message, but at the same time my mind was racing on what to do if they had come to disrupt the service or create a violent situation.

The message concluded and as I gave the invitation, I walked down front, only a few feet from these two men.  I truly expected them to step forward to inform me that they had something to say.  But they did not and we concluded the invitation and the service.  I walked to the foyer, as usual, to greet the people as they left the building.  These two men were part of the congregation that filed by, and I engaged them in conversation. 

They were bikers who were passing through.  They saw the church and that it was the hour for a worship service.  They had truly come to worship.  They were genuine believers with no intent except to be part of God’s family in worship.

Oh, but had I misjudged them!  Although I did not use the word in those days, I was very guilty of profiling.   Some people would say I had reason.  No, regardless of the appearance, I do not have that privilege.  I judged those two by what I saw in their clothing and demeanor, but I failed to recognize their hearts and intent.  I did not even give them the benefit of doubt.

I pray God will give me a heart of wisdom and love.  I seek to believe the best in others regardless of outward appearance.  What I need is the Spirit of Christ to override my first thoughts and fill my mind with His judgment.

” . . . The Lord does not look at the things man looks at.  Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”  (1 Samuel 16:7)

Advertisements

Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: