I remember hearing my home pastor, Bro. Ken Graham, say many times over the years, “Don’t judge other people in church. You have no idea what that person is going through. It may be all they can do to sit there and hold up their head.” I remember marveling over that thought! Could it be a person is so burdened down by a problem that they can barely walk in to church, or hold up their head? I trusted his word on the matter completely, but didn’t understand it.
As a grown woman, I still puzzle over things, especially biblical things. I marvel over the Savior’s love for me! I wonder how He could do it? How could HE love ME? I don’t understand it, but I trust Him completely on this matter. And I’m so grateful!
However, I do now, after some fifteen years, finally understand Bro. Graham’s admonition not to judge others. I know firsthand that the burdens of life can, in fact, press so heavily that one can barely hold up their head, or take a step. I know financial reversal and stress, I know the feeling of being betrayed by a friend, I know the feeling of abandonment by “Christians”, I know the pain of harsh words spoken by family or friends who are supposed to love you, I know the pain of death. And yet, there are people out there who are hurting in ways which I have not experienced! Pain is abundant in this world and all of it can be crippling, it can take your breath away, leaving you weak and dizzy – both literally and figuratively. How dare we judge one another for their response to church, or preaching, or anything? We have no idea what someone else is going through, and if we do know, shouldn’t that make us that much more understanding and compassionate? I would hope so.
Tonight, I sat in my place, barely able to hold up my head. I could barely move one foot in front of the other. I thought of my home pastor’s words, and the truth of them rang inside me. “This is what he meant. I hope that no one is judging me now. And I hope I never judge anyone else again!” Pain, of any kind, can be debilitating – for a time. With Christ beside me, I can keep going. I can, if at times falteringly, hold my head up. I can put one foot in front of the other. I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me.(Phil.4:13)