by Les Johnson
Matthew 7:1 “Do not judge lest you be judged.”
One of the most difficult things as a Christian is not to judge other people based on what little I know about them. I regularly ask God to help me see people the way he sees them and not how I look at them in a worldly way.
Several years ago I was helping coach my son’s baseball team and a new boy was added to our team. I helped with a lot of the individual drills to help improve their baseball skills. Each time Jeremiah would come through my drill station he would either not do the drill the right way or have some smart remark as to how stupid these drills were. Anytime a suggestion was made Jeremiah had a smart remark or would do something to draw attention to himself. After two or three practices I made the remark to my son I was going to let Jeremiah have it at practice unless he shaped up.
James 1:19-20 “This you may know my beloved brethren. But let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God”
A couple of weeks later we were playing a game and it was Jeremiah’s turn to sit out as we had 12 players on the team and we rotated different players to give each boy a chance at equal playing time. I was sitting on the bench next to Jeremiah and we began to talk about his home life. By listening to Jeremiah I found out that Jeremiah’s father had left his mother years ago and Jeremiah’s mom had a drug problem. Jeremiah told me that when he was 6-7 years old his mom might disappear for a couple of days and leave him and his three-year-old sister alone. Jeremiah’s grandparents were awarded custody of these two children and they were doing the best they could to raise their grandchildren.
Philippians 2:4 “do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also the interests of others”
Jeremiah was acting the way he did because he wanted someone to tell him he was doing a good job and he needed encouragement. So, I began to take a personal interest in Jeremiah’s life and regularly asked him about what was going on in his life. What began to happen was Jeremiah began to excel in sports. He was very fast and athletic and with a little positive reinforcement he began to show a very different side of himself. Funny, attentive, and a hard worker.
Later Jeremiah played on a youth basketball team I coached and we happened to play a tournament in Norfolk and Jeremiah’s dad, who had very little contact with him, came to watch him play. Jeremiah scored 25 points in that game and couldn’t quit telling me how excited he was to have his dad there to watch him play. We won the tournament and to this day if I see Jeremiah he will still talk about how important it was for him to have his dad see him play.
1 Samuel 2:10 “Those who contend with the Lord will be shattered; Against them He will thunder in the heavens, The Lord will judge the ends of the earth; And he will give strength to His king, And he will exalt the horn of his anointed.”
As a Christian I learned a valuable lesson. I learned that a lot of people in this world have come from very difficult circumstances and it is not our job to judge them. God will take care of this after we leave this world.
Proverbs 10:12 “Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.”
1 Peter 4:8 “Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.”
Our purpose while we are on this earth is to promote God’s kingdom and share his plan of salvation to the non-believers. We are to do this by seizing the opportunities around us and bringing glory to our Savior Jesus Christ by showing unconditional love to our fellow man.
Les Johnson has been a member of Westside Church for five years. He is married to Karen and they have three married children, with one grandchild and another grandchild on the way. He enjoys golf, spending time with family, and attending sporting events.