Written by:
Tau Jokonya

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Judge Me Not

In 2014, at Africa University, I met a young man in the library. I did not mean to stalk the young guy, but I could not help but notice that he was always in the library. I had been a sub-warden the previous academic year, and from my experience, the first year students rarely visit the library unless they were preparing for a major test or examination. I assumed that the guy was somehow too poor to afford “university life” and was hiding away by pretending to read in the library.

After months of noticing him in the library, I finally had the honor of striking up a conversation with the young man. I had assumed that he was too poor to afford going out. Rather, he was one of the richest students on campus and a marvellous student. He had turned down the opportunity to study abroad because he simply was in love with the weather in Mutare, where Africa University is located. He was a strong Christian who did not believe in partying. My foot was definitely in my mouth!

Life is larger than what we hear or see at any given moment.

Judging and making assumptions about others is one of the most common mistakes we can make. But life is larger than what we hear or see at any given moment. What someone is doing today might be a result of what they experienced months or even years go. It’s unfair to judge a person based solely upon our current perception of them.

In the Bible, the prophet Eli reminds us of the dangers of judging (1 Samuel 1:1-17). Eli was a respected prophet of the God. But still he judged Hannah and made the sad conclusion that she was drunk because her mouth was moving. The Bible is very clear that Hanna was praying, I believe, one of the most emotional prayers of her life. And the prophet stood there, accusing her of being drunk!

The world needs people stay quiet about things they don’t know, especially concerning matters of judging others.

We go through what Eli and Hanna went through daily in this world. How many times have we made assumptions about someone because of what we see in one moment? How many times have we allowed our cultural beliefs make judgments for us? I remember growing up in a rural Zimbabwe setup, concluding that every woman who wears a pair of trousers was a prostitute. How many times have we concluded that Hanna was drunk, when in fact she was praying? How many relationships have been destroyed because we judged and assumed?

Another example of the danger of judging in the bible is the story of David and Goliath. How could David’s brothers assume that David was not going to win when they never knew what he had gone through in the wilderness? How could someone judge and make assumptions about my life when they don’t even know what I have gone through to be where I am today?

The world needs people stay quiet about things they don’t know, especially concerning matters of judging others. The Apostle Paul, in 1 Thessalonians 4:11 said it all: ‘and that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you.’

May I appeal to your spiritual being to encourage you to stop judging others.

As Jesus said: "Judge not, that ye be not judged!" Matthew 7:1

Question of the week: When did I last judge or make an assumption about a person?