Passing Judgement in the Wrong Season

     For the past seven months as the result of a recent move, we have been living in the home left vacant after my mother-in-law’s passing. During this in between time, we have recently purchased a home and are waiting to move in.  However, there were moments when we thought seriously about staying where we are. The house is an older one, and in my mind I had imagined what updates I would do if it were ours. There were things to be done inside and out. When I moved in, it was late autumn, and most of the leaves had fallen from the trees.  The scraggly, naked limbs left me little clue of what kind of trees inhabited the fenced in area. Besides the fact that they were in need of some trimming, there were some that looked like they just needed to go due to overcrowding and esthetics.
     After the purchase of our new home, I gave the state of the back yard little or no thought since I knew we would be leaving.  It was with the return of Spring that I gave it further notice. As the weather warmed up once more, life began to return to the scraggly branches.  As the flowers come first to many trees, beautiful colors began to appear on the barren limbs. I was suddenly made aware of the beauty I would have missed since some of these trees were definitely on my “to go” list in the fall.  I had basically passed judgement on them without even knowing anything about them or their potential.
     Have you ever found yourself doing something similar with people you meet, making decisions about them before you really know them or introduce them to Who you know.  Think about who you were before you knew Jesus or who you would be without Him. That is a scary thought, isn’t it!  What if you, like many of those scraggly trees, would have been considered of no account and added to the “to go” list.
     Perhaps people we know and see every day, maybe even people in our own churches are overlooked by us on a regular basis. This could be because we are “so busy” that we don’t even take time to get to know them. Yet we form opinions about them based on who knows what! They are right in front of us, desperately waiting for a breath of Spring, searching to find something of worth and beauty in their lives.  We have the answers they need, yet we pass them by.
     Perhaps you are in a dormant, scraggly state right now.  You are a Christian, and you love the Lord, but “Life” has gotten in the way of your maintaining a close relationship with Him. You feel as though you are going through a time of drought and unbearable conditions in which there is no possibillity of Spring on the horizon. I am sure that is what Mary and Martha thought about Lazarus.  But, where Jesus is involved, there is always promise of hope. With God all things are possible. (Matt. 19:26)  Draw close once again to Jesus and allow Him to bring you out of that season and back into one of beauty, life and love.  You will need His help.  This is something that, hard as we try, we can not do on our own. He is just a prayer away.
     Now, as you go about your day, try to look beyond the rough, scraggly veneer of people you see and know. Hold your judgement. Try to envision them in a different season. A season full of potential in which they bloom and display the splendor of our Heavenly Father.  Then ask God what part he has for you to play in bringing that to fruition. Be available and willing to be a part of this process and invest in someone’s life. God will give you the water of His word and the light of His son Jesus to share. Be dilligent.  And then, wait for it, wait for it…God will give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes ( Isaiah 61:3) , and you will have the joy of God using you to be a part of the transformation. What job or demand on our time could be more rewarding than this!
     By the way, the flowers in the picture above are from a Japanese magnolia tree which I definitely would have wanted cut down in the fall, not knowing what it was.  Oh, the beauty I would have missed!


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