Show neither partiality to the weak nor deference to the mighty, but judge your fellow men justly. // Leviticus 19:15
Paul had dirty blonde hair and wore baggie black jeans. He talked back. He didn’t turn in homework. He flipped people off in the halls. We were in sixth grade, but he should have been in seventh and everyone knew he was trouble.
And one day, it happened. Paul was moving away, and it was his last day. As the rest of us walked down the hall to lunch, he stood in the hallway with our U.S. History teacher, the beloved Mrs. Doty. She took him by the shoulder, looked him in the eyes, and firmly told him, “You are a good kid, Paul. A good kid. And I love you. And I’m going to miss you.” And Paul sobbed. She pulled him in for a hug, and he clung to her and sobbed.
I never saw Paul again, but I will never forget what I learned by witnessing that interaction. I had never once considered who Paul might actually be behind the reputation he had, but Mrs. Doty saw right through all of it. She looked at the full picture, invested some time in getting to know Paul, and she judged his heart. She showed no partiality but judged justly.
It must have taken some effort on our teacher’s part to push past the initial disrespect and attitude and to get to know the young man who so many others quickly labeled and moved past. But she did it. And so must we.
Whom in your life you have written off? Ask the Lord to help you judge that person justly in your heart and mind.Ask the Lord to help you. // Bonnie Engstrom Click To Tweet