"Do not judge, or you, too, will be judged."
I've been doing my fair share of rolling up and down Highway 41 recently. My mother-in-law, who lives north of us in Cartersville, has three doctor appointments in Marietta this month. My husband, Danny, and I don't want her driving herself all the way there and back. It's too exhausting for her. And, I'm more than happy to be her chauffer.
If you look at the map in the photo above, it is obvious that Interstate 75 parallels Highway 41. Why don't I take the interstate route, you ask? Frankly, expressways scare the living daylights out of me. All those mad-dash, lane-changing drivers and the monstrous, lumbering 18-wheelers are definitely not my cup of tea!
That's one reason, among many, why I admire our friend and praise band bass player, Rob. He drives big rigs for a living, and is on the interstates for days at a time. He is, in my opinion, a veritable king of the road.
Not me. In my tiny, silver Scion, I poke along the four-lane, uncrowded, twisting, winding 41s of the world. Never exceeding the speed limit. Praying hard when I know a bridge is coming up (detest these). Glad, oh, so glad, that encounters with tractor-trailers are few and far between.
So, imagine my surprise and, I might add, no small bout of panic as I'm rolling down Highway 41 headed home, and a gargantuan, roaring 18-wheeler pulls up alongside me. And, the driver blows his horn! Repeatedly!!!
Fear grips me as hard as I grip the steering wheel. "What? You want to pass me? Well, just pass me, you big bully! I'll slow down and make it easy for you. That's right. You go on ahead. Of all the nerve! Picking on a defenseless, chipmunk-powered hatchback!"
I entertain some other choice terms to describe the driver, then quickly beg God's forgiveness. But, I am angry. Shaken. Perplexed. What was that all about? I watch the truck barreling down the road in front of me with judgment in my heart.
That was Rob . . .
"Impossible!" I tell the Voice in my head. "He always takes the interstate. It can't be Rob. No way!"
No, dear, that WAS Rob . . .
My cell phone rings. Not a chance I'll answer it while driving. There is a pause before I hear the jingling tone which tells me I have a message. That can wait the ten minutes or so until I reach the first stop light since leaving Cartersville.
When at last I connect with a red light, I fumble for the phone. Yes, I have a voice mail. Thinking it is probably Danny, I decide to check it.
"Hi, Martha, this is Rob. Sorry I scared you back there. Sure didn't mean to. Just saw you ahead of me and wanted to catch up and wave to you. Sure hope you can forgive me. See you Sunday."
I am dumbfounded. The Voice was right!
Once again, I find I am too quick to judge.
And, I am the one in need of forgiveness.
Have there been times when you have judged someone or something only to find out you were mistaken?
Will you pray with me?
Before we judge others, Father, give us Jesus' words in our hearts - that we are not to judge unless we, too, wish judgment upon ourselves. Grant us the grace to see as You see when faced with situations we don't readily understand. Guide us by Your infinite mercy to always seek and offer forgiveness to ourselves and others. Amen.