“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged” (Matthew 7:1)
Before God placed me into full-time ministry, I taught reading in a private Christian school. Students would come to my room, read a story from a monitor, and I would time and grade them. It was a pretty simple process…….that is, until Thursdays. Thursdays were the one day of the week that I did not want to go to school. I didn’t want to go because I knew “that kid”would be darkening my doorway. That kid, being a twelve-year-old with an attitude the size of Texas. On Thursday afternoon he would enter my room scowl first, plop himself down in the chair and do the minimal reading required. He never said one word to me. He never smiled. He kept the chip on his shoulder perfectly balanced, daring anyone to knock it off. As soon as the period was over, he would jump up and run out of the room. I don’t know who was happier to see the session end – him or me. I hated Thursdays! It was a sad situation. Reid and I knew both of his parents. His father was a pastor, and they were great people. I used to feel sorry for them. In fact, I told Reid on more than one occasion, “that kid is going to end up in prison.”
Fast forward a good 25 years plus. This boy’s father passed away. I went to the funeral. After a couple eulogies from other pastors, it was announced that the man’s son (that kid) was going to preach. I let out a gasp. Oh no! What in the world is that kid going to say! When he stepped up to the pulpit, I took a deep breath. To my amazement when he began to speak, I felt like someone had opened all the windows and let fresh air flow into the church. This twelve-year-old was now a thirty something pastor. More importantly, he was a young man whose heart God had changed, anointed, and commissioned to preach the gospel. What a difference!
God taught me a valuable lesson that day. It is one we all need to learn in our journey with Christ. Who someone is should never determine who God is creating them to become. We cannot sit in judgment over anyone. Only God has the authority to do that. When the woman who was caught in adultery was brought by the Pharisees to Christ, they were tightly holding stones in their hands, ready to reign down severe judgment on her. Jesus was the only one who was not holding a stone. Yet Jesus was the only one qualified to throw a stone. It makes our journey in life easier if we will learn how to throw down our stones and take up arms of grace.
Never underestimate what God can do in the life of anyone. Over the years God taught me a great lesson from that twelve-year-old kid. And just to let you know, because our God has a sense of humor, “that kid” has been my pastor for the past twelve years!