It’s Awfully Easy to be Judgmental

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves. ~Carl Jung

He saw me glaring at him.

As he walked slowly and deliberately to his car in the handicapped-reserved space beside mine, I did everything possible to silently display my contempt. He obviously didn’t need that spot. I wanted to make sure he knew that I knew and that I disapproved.

I’m not sure why I felt the need to be the parking space police that morning. I was having a particularly hard time getting my chair situated beside my car, and I guess I wanted to vent my frustration on someone else.

I thought to myself that I wasn’t demonstrating much Christian charity, but he had no right to abuse that sacred spot. Even in a church parking lot, you just have to let people know when they’re doing wrong.

He watched me as he opened his car door, so I intensified my defiant stare. I wanted to make sure he experienced the full weight of his guilt. I probably made a bigger-than-necessary show of fussing with my chair just to make sure he got the point.

He was almost ready to sit, and then he changed course. He turned, slowly walked around the car, and stood in front of me. He reached down and pulled up his right pants leg, revealing the artificial limb that explained his slow, measured pace.

He didn’t speak. He simply returned to his car, climbed in, and backed away.

It’s awfully easy to be judgmental. How could I, of all people, so easily forget that many special needs are invisible? How could I subject that man to the indignity of displaying his disability to satisfy my self-righteousness?

I rested my head on my steering wheel in shame.

I forget so frequently that we’re all broken and disabled by God’s standards, ignoring the 2×4 in my own eye while condemning a non-existent speck in someone else’s. I’m thankful for this reminder of my own weakness and the grace that gives me another chance.

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Copyright 2010 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:
Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
. Visit his web site