In our country’s judicial system, we believe that a person is innocent until proven guilty. However, that does not always pan out in our relationships with folks. We sometimes make judgements based on assumptions or very little information.
In fact, we are pretty quick to judge others. I think many of us live by the opposite principle: “guilty until proven innocent.” We can make pretty quick assessments and determine if we like someone or not. And if we don’t, we write them off. We often want them to prove to us that they are worth it.
I hung out with a couple of second graders today at a local school. These boys need some extra attention. They shared how few friends they had. One of them even shared how some of the kids made fun of him and called him a “nerd.” These are both great kids and definitely are worth it!
Judgement calls can hurt a bunch! They can make the other person feel as if they don’t matter. It isn’t fair and it certainly isn’t smart. We can be missing out on some really great relationships by our hasty assignment of guilt.
In the 23rd chapter of Luke, we read about Jesus’ trial. The crazy thing about the trial is that Pilate finds him “not guilty.” He is innocent. But, instead of releasing Jesus, he releases a known murderer named Barabbas. Why?
Pilate caved under popular opinion. He listened to the crowd who said Jesus was guilty. He was swayed not by the real evidence but by his desire to please the majority. He did the wrong thing and even had the audacity to justify it.
Doesn’t sound too different from elementary school and the way kids sometimes act. I am afraid we act just like that at times when we make judgements about others; when we avoid them because they are different than we make stupid jokes about them or we talk about them behind their backs. It ain’t cool!
And don’t forget that old adage: “What goes around, comes around.” How we treat others is how we will eventually be treated. Those who judge others will eventually be judged. It may already be happening by the person right next to you.
So, learn the lesson we should have gotten back when we were 8. Treat others the way you want to be treated! Give them a chance. Remember, they are innocent until proven guilty!