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by Mark Waltenbaugh


    Every day of our lives we’re forced to make quick decisions. Someone makes a quick turn in front of us and we have to react instantly in order to avoid an accident. A medical emergency arises at work and we have to think and act fast to insure personal safety. Some situations call for quick evaluation from external indicators, but some do not.

    All too often we make quick assumptions that should be reconsidered. We observe a teen in a particular set of clothing and assume they must think, talk and act a certain way. A woman has unkempt hair and dirty clothes so we assume she’s unwilling to take care of herself like she ought to. Making assumptions can get us into trouble. Just ask the paramedics who found Frances Foster of Brooklyn, NY.

    Frances is a 77 year old woman. Just a few days ago, paramedics were called to her home and found her lying motionless in her bathroom. When they arrived they said she was “cold to the touch” and that one of her legs was bent and wouldn’t straighten so they assumed rigor mortis had set in. Several hours later, as the medical examiner’s official was placing her in a body bag, she moved and opened her eyes! The paramedic’s quick assumption allowed them to make a terrible mistake.

“Stop judging by mere appearances, and make right judgments.”
    People had assumptions about Jesus and his ministry that were incorrect too. Some thought he was demon possessed and others considered him a blasphemer and a law breaker. For those who misunderstood him because they were making assumptions based on some external indicators that made them uncomfortable, he said this: “Stop judging by mere appearances, and make right judgments.” (John 7:24)

    Good advice for us all! When the situation calls for quick judgments, make them the best you know how. But when we have time to look beyond the externals, we need to be sure we are making right judgments.

    Maybe the teen is a wonderful Christian who just likes that style of clothing. And the woman came from working in her yard and had to run a quick errand. Things are not always as they seem... just ask the medical personnel who helped Frances!

Father, help us to make quick judgments when we must, but keep us from fast assumptions that will mislead us. We want to judge rightly. Help us to see what you see, to hear what you hear, and understand what you know. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
      Copyright © 2002, Mark Waltenbaugh. Used by permission.
      Title: ""
      Author: Mark Waltenbaugh
      Publication Date: February 22, 2002


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