“Judge not that you be not judged. For with what judgment, you judge, you will be judged.” Matthew 7:1
The missionaries engaged local Africans to do their housework. I didn’t want to hire them to do my chores but realized if I employed a girl to wash my clothes I’d have an extra day each week to treat more people and establish mobile clinics.
One of the young ladies in our village named Wednesday had left school after the fourth grade and was seeking employment, so I hired her. She did a good job washing my clothes and asked for more work. So I gave her the job of marketing. It was important because it dealt with handling money, keeping a record, and making change.
She arrived early for me to dictate the grocery list.
“Please buy bread.”
“Do you want good bread, salt bread or sugar bread?”
“Do you want the long ones or the round ones?”
“Whatever is available.”
“Pick up a dozen eggs.”
“Do you want brown eggs or white? Clean eggs or dirty ones?”
Two hours later after getting precise instructions for each item, she left. Would she be able to do the job? I liked her, but she seemed to be slow.
That evening when she returned from the market she said, “The citrons were too expensive for you to buy.”
“How much did they cost?”
“They were ten cents. That is too costly for you.” She opened her coin purse. “I bought everything else on the grocery list. Here is $2.30 change from the $10.00 you gave me.”
Wednesday must not have been smart enough to subtract ten cents from $2.30 to purchase the citrons. After saying good bye I wrestled with the question of what to do with her. If she was unable to do basic math or make change, she couldn’t buy the groceries. She had tried and worked hard, but I thought she was dim-witted.
A few days later, Wednesday arrived. She handed me a bowl that contained thirteen citrons. “We have this tree in our compound. I want to give you these because those at the market cost ten cents. You can have my citrons for free.”
My heart plummeted. I wanted to cry for judging the poor girl as having a low intelligence and not being smart enough to do the shopping. Worst of all, I was supposed to be the missionary and love her as Christ loved her, but she loved me more than I had loved her. She had my best interests at heart and saved me a dime. In a country where people work all day and only get a dollar, a dime was a lot of money. She did this because she cared about me and my welfare. I felt so bad that I’d judged her as being slow-witted, but I couldn’t apologize because of cultural misunderstandings. I asked God to forgive me but wondered what I could do to make it up to her.
She stared up at the ceiling. “You have a spider web up there. I’ll get the broom and chair to get it down for you.”
I grinned. “You have the gift of seeing dirt. If you still want more work, would you like to clean my house?”
“Thank you. You are too kind to me.” She beamed. “I didn’t know seeing dirt was a gift. I’ve wanted more work to buy household goods for my hope chest.”
Wednesday was a special lady who saw details, unusual for Africa. She had taken so much time to understand each food item. I had judged her as being slow when she was trying to do the best job.
How can you avoid judging and what can you do if you judge another?
1. If you see someone and judge her as being a snob, rude or uncaring, ask the Lord’s forgiveness. If it will not cause further hurt, than apologize.
2. Make it up to the person. Look at the person’s face and smile. Shake her hand or hug her. Go out of your way to do something nice for her.
3. Always remember that you do not know everything about her, so get to know her. She may have had a bad day, her child is sick, or she wasn’t raised right.
4. Be kind. Look for ways to help her or praise her for a good job.
5. Listen to what she says and try to find the positive in her.