Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Example (07/25/13)
TITLE: Judge Not
By Pamela Reed
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In between college studies and child care, Brenda wanted to start a friendship in the neighborhood. Although I was 20 years older than Brenda, she chose me to be her friend. All seven loved to visit us and our animals, and we tried to make memories for the little ones that will last forever. We believe in forty years they will tell tales to their grandchildren about the antics of our farm animals. We carefully shared our faith with them. They told us that some people condemned Kevin for his tattoos. Those people told Kevin that tattoos were the essence of evil and signified “666.” We let them know that we didn’t agree. As Brenda shared how some Christians looked down their nose at her because she smoked, I shared that the Jesus that we worshiped didn’t allow us to judge each other. I also let her know that smoking would not keep her out of heaven. I encouraged her in her efforts to quit, but only because it would improve her health.
One morning, bright and early, I received a phone call from Brenda who was crying hysterically. She asked “Can I come and see you?” Obviously, I said yes. I got dressed as quickly as I could. She arrived alone, telling me that Kevin had decided that he didn’t love her anymore and wanted a divorce. To make matters worse, he wanted her to move out so that her sister, Mattie, could move in. Poor Brenda was losing her husband and her sister.
Brenda moved out of our neighborhood and Mattie moved in. Keeping in touch and supporting Brenda was easy. She kept a positive attitude and we surrounded her with support. She needed a bed and we had an extra full size bed taking up space. We delivered it and let her know how cute her new place was.
But what about Kevin? We had previously discussed that our faith did not allow us to judge others, but hurting Brenda was the last thing that we wanted. We struggled, discussed it between ourselves, and struggled some more. What Christian example would Christ want us to set in this difficult situation? We finally decided that if we did anything that could be taken as judgmental, Kevin would use that as an excuse to never accept Jesus into his heart. Why should he? We would be no different than the world. He already felt judged by others. We started out slowly by waving as we drove by. After about the fourth time, Mattie noticed. She said “Kevin, did they just wave at us?” He said “Yes” and then decided to come and visit.
We invited him and one of his daughters, Carli, to sit at our table and have some sweet tea. He said “We didn’t know how you would feel about us so kept our distance.” We assured him that it was not our place to judge and that he was welcome at our home. As we visited, we shared that our new ducklings were not exactly what we had wished for as we needed egg layers and four of them had turned out to be drakes. Carli excitedly asked her Dad if she could have a couple for pets. He agreed and we delivered them along with straw for their bedding and a partial bag of food to start with. She was delighted, and Kevin felt accepted.
Although we feared that Brenda would not understand our position, she was thrilled as our relationship with Kevin kept us close with her children. We let both Brenda and Kevin know that we would not carry tales in either direction. They were both too special for us to take the chance of harming either relationship. We visited Kevin and Mattie last week. Kevin said that he and Mattie have decided to attend a church to see what it’s all about. They wish to start by attending ours.
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