Prejudice is pre-judging someone before you know their motives or actions. I’d like to think there is not a prejudice bone in my body and that I love everyone and that regardless of their color, nationality, or lifestyle, but I found out recently I still have a lot of work to do when it comes to prejudging people.
Meet Woodrow. He walked up to me the other day when I was filling up the church van in a rough part of Dallas. When I saw him walking over towards me, here were the things that went through my mind…
- “I think that guy is coming over here. He probably wants money.”
- “Please keep walking on past me, because I’m running short on time.”
- “I wonder what this guy’s sad story is going to be.”
- “This guy must have seen the name on the church van and is looking for a handout.”
- “Let’s see, how much cash do I have left in my wallet. I really need it all.”
Instead our conversation went like this as he stuck out his hand to shake mine, “Hi, my name is Woodrow. I saw your church van (“Here it comes,” I thought, “he does want money”), and I wanted to see if you knew my friend Nate Bundy who I think works there in Childress, Texas.”
I was surprised and said, “Sure I know Nate, he’s our youth minister.”
After a few minutes of visiting with Woodrow about Nate and their friendship, he asked if I’d tell Nate hello for him. I told him I’d be honored, and asked if I could take his picture with my phone to send to Nate. He thought that’d be a great idea.
After telling Woodrow goodbye, I got back in the the van and confessed to Lea that I’d prejudged this man and shouldn’t have. Jesus wouldn’t have. Ringing over-and-over in my head were the last words Woodrow had said just before he drove off, “It’s sure is nice to meet you Trey, and I’m SO glad I stopped by to say hello.” Talk about pouring salt on my wound. As I watched him drive off I couldn’t help but think, “Just a few minutes ago I was begging for this guy to walk on by, all because I didn’t want to share anything I had with him … my money, time or friendship.”
After I sent the picture to Nate, my phone gave me the option to save or delete the picture. I chose to save Woodrow’s picture on my phone, where it remains to this day, just to remind me that I still have a lot of work to do when it comes to being like Jesus and not judging people.