One of my friends made a comment on her Facebook page the other day and it got me thinking. It was something along the lines of “do you judge people based on the company that they keep, and has your judgement been wrong?” At first, I didn’t think anything about it but then I realized that many of us are guilty of doing just that.
Is it wrong? Is it fair or does it make sense? I know that I’ve been guilty of doing this and hadn’t really thought too much about it. Now as I think and write, it has become something that I’m not proud of.
I have many friends and acquaintances’ from different walks of life. Many are involved in things or believe in things that I either don’t believe in or would never participate in or support. I’m friends with pastors, atheists, lesbians, drug users, alcoholics, people on welfare, single parents, divorcees, convicted criminals, people having affairs, thieves, liars, abusers and recovering addicts. I am not one of these things, but these people have made a significant difference in my life. Thankfully, I didn’t always make a pre-judgement based on their titles, or I would’ve missed out on some amazing people.
Am I saying that we need to invite each and every person, no matter what they do or where they come from to share in all aspects of our lives, absolutely not. What I’m saying is that we need to stop writing people off as “unworthy of our time” because they don’t meet our ideal picture of what a person should be.
Not everyone is cut out to be a mayor, but they could be an awesome councillor. Not all people can serve the role of best friend, but they sure are fun to go out with for coffee. I won’t let certain people babysit my children but I’d happily let them dog sit. Different people serve different roles in our lives and that is okay. We need to stop trying to make everyone fit into a mold that we’ve created.
Most of us have people that we are close to. People that we share our dreams and secrets with. People that we go to for advice and support. These people are a blessing, and we need to hold on to them tightly and cherish the gift that they are in our lives.
But what about the other people in your world? The ones that don’t share your faith? The ones that look different? The ones that have different lifestyles? The ones that are struggling with addictions? The ones that have zero support system and are just flailing about? What do we do with those people?
I say that we honour them for just being alive. For making it through another day, in spite of their circumstance or trials. That we recognize that though their choices are different from ours, that doesn’t necessarily make those choices wrong. That it’s okay for us to not all be the same.
You don’t need to let strangers into your home to include them in your life or hand them over a wad of cash. You don’t need to attend their marches or events or their churches. You don’t have to give them the clothes off your back or the keys to your car. Be smart but act first in grace as opposed to judgement.
Giving of ourselves in no way compromises our life or our own personal story. Be a listening ear, a helping hand or a smiling face. Having coffee with someone who is completely different from you does not make you “become them”, it will change you for the better. It will help you see the world through someone else’s eyes. It may make you appreciate your life a little bit more. It could possibly change their story and help them feel hope. Or you just might walk away with an awesome new friend. How is any of this a bad thing??
So as we go about our days, I challenge you to look at people through a different set of eyes. Don’t let your fears or ideals cloud your judgement as there’s always more to a person than what you can see.
Don’t judge me by who I’m sitting with. Judge me for how I’m treating them.
I know that I will now be holding myself to a higher standard. How about you?