"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." -- Matthew 7:1-2
Recently I had the frustrating experience of being unable to login to a new account I had just set up on a popular publishing website. Although I had worked for well over an hour formatting, uploading, and ordering copies of a book I had written, I never received an email acknowledging the order and was not able to login to confirm that the order, or I, even existed. As a consumer, I was quick to blame everything on the website when, in fact, it all turned out to be my own fault because I had misspelled my email address. No wonder I couldn't login!
Thankfully I got in touch with a very patient support representative who was able to track down my account with what little information I was able to provide him, then corrected my mistake. After I got over the embarrassment of having omitted one tiny little letter in my email address, which made the support call necessary in the first place, I admitted to being a fellow tech support assistant who has had to walk others through similar cases of "operator error." I felt bad that I was too quick to blame the website and regretful of my own ungracious behavior.
All too often we are quick to criticize others or make rash assumptions before looking at all the facts or possibilities concerning a given situation. Had I been a little more careful, I would not have made the mistake. If I had been less hasty in rushing to judgment, I might not have behaved as ungraciously as I did.
Fortunately for us, God is never ungracious and or swift to judge us. He is a God of mercy, eager to forgive our offenses when we are humble enough to confess them. But he is also a righteous Judge, who requires that we forgive others in order that we may receive his forgiveness. Next time you are inclined to rush to judgment, look in the mirror first and consider how it might feel if someone misjudged you. A little bit of mercy and grace go a long way toward understanding others and making sense of a potentially unpleasant situation.