FAILING TO BE LIKE JESUS

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.

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Article by Trey Morgan

I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast. Read 1182 articles by
22 Comments Post a Comment
  1. That Girl says:

    Maybe I can use the lesson you learned for us all today. I will do my best not to pre-judge.

  2. Marc T says:

    I am guilty. Last summer I met a man that was scavanging in the dump. I went to talk to him and later asked him if we could pray together. Instead of me praying, the dump scavenger started praying. He thanked God for his infinite blessings. He asked God to protect me and he prayed that God would bless me as much as he was blessed. All the time I had pre-judged this man to be poor, hopeless, and totally “needful”.

  3. Kim says:

    I am guilty of this as well. I constantly pray that God would help me see people and situations through His eyes rather than my own. There is no telling how many times I have totally missed what God wanted me to see and do for Him because I was so involved in assuming I knew the situation rather seeing how He had ordered my steps and how He had planned for me to approach something or someone.
    Thanks for the reminder and for your transparency.

  4. Donna G says:

    I probably should copy this picture to my phone as I need the same reminder….daily!

  5. Lantz says:

    Thanks for the reminder. It seems that we all do this in our head and very few people are transparent to let others know their honest thoughts.

    Possibly this attest to the great youth minister you have. 😉

    Tell Nate hello for me!

  6. Stoogelover says:

    Guilty. What gets me though is that given time, I fall back into the same pattern of thought.

    Now that I’m no longer preaching, I tend to view people from a completely different perspective. These days I look at them in light of which gurney (light weight or heavy duty) I’d use to bring them into the mortuary.

  7. Amanda Sanders says:

    Trey- I don’t let people into my house without a dna sample and birth certificate. I am a super open, people lover..until I close my front door.

    My husband is pretty much the exact opposite of me. He will let anyone into our house and loves for them to stay. Indefinetly.

    One night around dark last summer, a young man knocked on our door and asked for some water. Greg, not only got him cold water, but invited him in to sit down and drink it. I was livid! Had my husband ever seen a Lifetime movie? Letting strangers into your house never works out well…

    Anyway, mr. Stranger came in, sat down, drank his water. Then asked to use our restroom! I was livid and certain he was in our bathroom sharpening his knife to make our decapitaions easier.

    As he was walking out of our house, he look directly at me. For the first time and said “Thank you for letting me in.” He walked out and disappeared into the dark. We had never seen him before and haven’t seen him since.

    I don’t know many things for sure, but I do know that encounter wasn’t about him needing water. It was about me and God and my lack of hospitality.

    Sorry to take over your blog. Just wanted to share my judgement of others as well.

  8. Peter P says:

    Ouch!

    Thanks for sharing this great lesson Trey!

  9. Melissa Poling says:

    Well I needed this today.
    I find myself being prejudice not only to those outside the church but inside as well. Proverbs kicked me around regarding my attitude last night and you have completed the job this morning. Thanks for letting God use you to soften my heart.

  10. TREY MORGAN says:

    Marc – That may be the coolest story I’ve heard in a long time. Glad you shared.

    Kim – Well said. I pray the same thing.

    Lantz – I’ll pass along the message to Nate :)

    Greg – Back when I was doing a lot of work as a Paramedic I used to look at every persons veins in their arms. I’d catch myself thinking, “There’s an easy stick.” :) But, I’ve never done the gurney thing … gross. :)

    Amanda – Loved the story. You take over my blog anytime. Greg sounds like a great guy. Wish I could have spent more time with him in Tulsa.

    Melissa – You’re welcome …. and as always thanks for stopping by.

  11. Dr. Roger D. Butner says:

    Sounds like God sure is working on you, Trey. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences of conviction, struggle, and growth with the rest of us.

  12. Mikes says:

    Wow! I’m amazed at how God can teach you a lesson on not judging through this circumstance. I agree we don’t have the right to judge coz I think personally i am worth judging.

    God Bless you Trey!

  13. Patrick Mead says:

    The nicest guy I met on a long, long drive years ago was a VERY rough, wild haired biker guy in leathers. He entered the rest area rest room right after me and I thought "uh oh." He asked me kindly how I was doing and was in all ways a kind and gracious man as we walked back outside. Like you, the encounter showed me something about myself I would rather not have known.

  14. Jesterhawk says:

    Hey, you were in the Dallas area and you didn't look me up. Well, I guess you were busy. I think it would have been cool to hang with you for a bit.

    Love in Christ,
    Pat

  15. Jenschke Family says:

    Last year while our family was at the Houston Stock Show we had pulled into a 7-11 to get gas. Now, Reliant Center is not in the worst part of Houston but it is not the best either. Lonnie and I could see this “bum” coming up to ask for money. We both ducked our heads and tried to ignore him. He didn’t go away. He asked and we rejected. He walked off muttering to himself. My heart strings pulled harder than ever. I got $5 from my wallet and headed toward him. He ducked his head at me!!! He should have! But, I handed him the money and told him to get what he needed. He was soooo happy! He said “thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you” He just would not shut up. He ran up to his buddies to show them he had $5! We drove away as he almost broke his wrist waving bye and all I could think was “Thank you Lord for not letting my ‘humaness’get in the way and I was thrilled both my kids were there to witness the joy of giving! Now, I don’t pass anyone, no matter what, without giving something!

  16. L.C.T. says:

    I did this last week (not proudly!) I saw someone coming up to me and assumed they were going to annoy me. All they wanted was a glass of cold water on a hot day. Thankfully my boyfriend is far more servant-hearted than me and did as Jesus would do, and got him a cold drink.

  17. Janice says:

    Many years ago I was leaving work. It was in the fall and already dark. The parking lot where I parked was in the back of our print shop, just off of Main Street. The neighborhood was not always safe after dark. I was the last one to leave and I had to walk through a short alley to get to the parking lot.

    In those days I was a “pistol packing mama”. I had a concealed weapon permit for a 45 and a 38. I always had them with me. That night I had the 38 in my waistband and the 45 in my purse. Just as I was nearing my car, a tall, long haired scruffy man quickly crossed from the sidewalk into the parking lot, headed straight for me. I’m barely 5’3” tall, so I felt like Goliath was headed my way at a fast pace.

    My mind started racing and fear washed over me like hot water. I touched my waistband wondering if I was going to have to use my 38. I kept telling myself, “stay calm” “stay aware”. Finally I heard a voice that didn’t sound like mine at all. I asked him if “I could help him?” That’s the same question I had asked customers thousands of time; yet this guy wasn’t a customer. He asked for money for something to eat. I glanced to my right and there was the little hamburger joint that adorned the corner of Main and ‘N’. I never quit walking, I just pointed to the hamburger place and said “go in there, I’ll pay for your meal”.

    By this time my legs are feeling like shaky rubber bands and my heart is pounding. I’m silently praying he will do as I asked; knowing he can sense my fear. Much to my relief he turned and started walking; I followed him into the eatery and silently breathed a sigh of relief. I told him to order whatever he wanted and I would pay for it. He ordered a hamburger, fries and a large drink. I paid the clerk and turned to leave. He looked at me with such gratitude and said “thank you and God bless you”.

    I was used to seeing homeless people in the daytime, in the dark I was scared and skeptical. I thought the worst when I saw him.

    I too am GUILTY!! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to pray for forgiveness for judging.

  18. TREY MORGAN says:

    Roger – God is working on me all the time. And, I’m glad He is. :)

    Mikes – Thanks my friend.

    Larry – Well said.

    Patrick – I think I would have been very nervous in your situation too.

    Jesterhawk – Sounds like fun. :)

    Kim – I know your kids learned from that. Mine have too.

    LCT – Isn’t it nice when we have someone around who shows us the right way to do things? Lea does that for me too.

    Janice – A pistol packing momma … wow. Great story. :)

  19. Frank says:

    Okay, I’ll go the other way with this one.

    Expectations based on previous experiences don’t have to add up to prejudice. I say Not-Necessarily Guilty.

    Re. kind strangers: Having been around a lot of families, I know that one type of kind stranger is the person who’s mean as hell to everyone else at home. Then they go out and absolve themselves by having friendly chit chat with people they’ve never seen before and who they’ll never see again. Speaking from that inevitable bit of prejudice, I much prefer that sort of person with the gruff exterior and heart of gold.

    Contrarily,

    Frank

  20. Doug Young says:

    On more that one occasion I’ve done the same thing. Slowly but surely, though, God is teaching me out of it. Thanks for sharing.

  21. LauraLee Shaw says:

    I've had this same experience. This is a great reminder, Trey!

  22. Rachel says:

    What a great post and great reminder. The other day I was thinking if we learned to think of others as individuals and less by groups, which lead to stereotypes – perhaps we wouldn't be so quick to judge because we would be less likely to assume.

    Rachel
    http://www.stirringthedeep.com

About Me

Trey Morgan Here are my thoughts about marriage, family, raising children, humor, faith and the life God intended for us all. I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast.

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