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Put the Gavel Down
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As the little red truck rolled slowly down our drive, I turned away and sighed. Had I just lost a few hundred dollars? I wondered.

I had placed an ad for a loveseat I hoped to sell. An older couple arrived to look at it in a beat-up, little truck. The man was thin and wizened, sporting a scruffy, full beard. The wife appeared somewhat unkempt also with windblown hair and baggy clothes.

They wanted to buy the loveseat, but didn’t have enough cash and wondered if I would take a check. Looking at them, I was hesitant. A previous experience had left me vowing never to take a check from someone I didn’t know, but finally, I reluctantly agreed. My husband and even my teenage sons were skeptical. “Mom, I wouldn’t have taken that check,” my son commented.

After they left, I remembered that the wife had mentioned that her husband was the editor of a local newspaper. Somewhat doubtful, I sat down at my computer to look them up on the internet. To my surprise, it didn’t take long to find that, indeed, the scruffy, little man was the editor of a local paper as well as an artist who exhibited paintings in local galleries and art shows. And the women I had seen only as a rather frumpy, older lady . . . I discovered that she had written several books that had been published. She had a master’s degree in creative writing and had been reviewed by the New York Times.

Sobered Me

They were not at all what I had judged them to be! While the facts I had learned did not guarantee that their check would clear, it sobered me to realize how quickly I had judged them based on outward appearance. How often, I wondered, have I been tempted to judge others spiritually based on outward criteria?

Jesus warns us of that very thing. “Judge not, that you be not judged” (Matthew 7:1). While what we are on the outside is often an indicator of what is inside, it is certainly not a foolproof method of knowing who or what a person really is. Only God can see the heart and know our innermost thoughts and motives. Only God can look beyond who we are today and see what we will become. We shouldn’t judge others simply because we cannot judge rightly. 

The dictionary defines a judge as one who is able to give an authoritative opinion, something that we, in our human understanding are incapable of doing when it comes to the heart of another person. Not only can we not see what God sees, but often our standard of judgment is far different than God’s. He knows the road we’ve traveled. He sees the victories ahead. He sees how far we’ve come, not just where we are today. He sees the pride in the heart of the “model Christian” and the desire to know Him in the heart of the teenager with the wild hair and clothes.

My check did clear the next day and I thanked God for the gentle reminder to put the gavel down and let Him be the judge!

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By Leslie Olin. Copyright © 2009 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW KING JAMES VERSION © 1982.

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