Yesterday, I was given the opportunity to visit with a wonderful woman. I've seen her a few times. Exchanged pleasantries. But never had a chance to really talk to her. I was working the Sunday shift... which in the morning is fairly quiet. A few people come in to buy a paper on their way to or from church. But generally, people are either at church or recovering from their Saturday night.
This woman came in and got some coffee. She sat in the booth, every now and then making small talk with me. Soon, we ended up in a really good conversation. She's intelligent, wise, a little crass in the sense that she doesn't hold back her opinions. She's what I hope I'll be like in 20 years.
The thing is... I've heard about this woman many times. There have been many stories about her. Many rumors. Basically, she's the town "crazy woman." I can't say I have ever heard an actually nice thing about her. All the reviews claimed she's crazy.
Had I actually listened to those reviews, I would not have allowed myself the opportunity to get to know her a bit. I wouldn't have gotten the opportunity to hear her views on church, and people, and life in general. I wouldn't have gotten the opportunity to know that someone feels the same way I do. I wouldn't have gotten the opportunity to know the depth of her being and what a loving and beautiful soul she has.I wouldn't have gotten the opportunity to be blessed by learning a little more about her faith.
This is a common thing I've witnessed. And I'd be lying if I said I haven't, at times, done the same. We judge a person based on what other people say. And, most often, those things said are not nice. We hear the reviews - he's a drunk, she's a witch, he's worthless, she's crazy - and we decide we don't want to get to know the person. I mean, we're not going to spend money buying a movie when the reviews all say it sucks... why would we spend our time on someone when all the reviews say the person sucks?
Today's Lenten sacrifice:
Stop prejudging a person based on the word of others.
Perhaps some caution is warranted if you hear a person is abusive or otherwise bad news. But still, don't prejudge. Don't let those reviews stop you from getting to know someone. You never know who will be a blessing on your life - or for whom you may be a blessing. Push aside those reviews... don't even listen to them. Open your heart and your mind and get to know them.