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Making Judgments

Before I started flying airplanes as a flight engineer in the military, I spent 5 years repairing them as a heavy maintenance technician. Basically if it moved on the C-5 Galaxy airlifter, our shop was responsible for fixing that system when it got out of whack.

There was an old civilian mechanic by the name of Zeb who worked the the 2nd shift in the shop. He was a good mechanic, understood the airplane but always seemed to be in need of a shave, hair cut and some new clothes. Not that he didn’t bath, but it appeared he was in need of something all the time. His lack gave others the opportunity to poke fun behind his back, me included.

I remember coming back to work after Christmas break one year and seeing a well groomed and dressed Zeb. I, along with a few of my co-workers, were shocked by his appearance. We all wondered what happened to ole Zeb while we were away. I made a comment to my crew leader, another old civilian, about Zeb finding a razor or some other smart aleck comment. This is what he told me about why Zeb looked the way he did most of the time.

His family was not with him, they lived in another state. He was close to retirement age and had take the job at the base to finish up his years with government. He had a wife, children and grand children back home. Since he only needed a few years to complete his retirement, his wife and he decide it was foolish to move the family there only to move them back home a few years later. He lived in extremely austere conditions so he could send the maximum amount of money home to his family every month.

My opinion of him was based on what I assumed and not the reality of who he was. It taught me a lesson I won’t forget. Every time I start to make a judgment about a person, place or thing, the Lord gently reminds me about ole Zeb. I can still see his rugged face, pipe in hand, sitting in the break room waiting for the call from dispatch for his next job.


Making Judgments
by Os Hillman

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven” (Luke 6:37).

Have you ever made a judgment about a person or situation only to discover how wrong you were in your assessment? Such was the case in a story told by Os Guinness in his book, The Call.

“Arthur F. Burns, the chairman of the United States Federal Reserve System and ambassador to West Germany, was a man of considerable gravity. Medium in height, distinguished, with wavy silver hair and his signature pipe, he was economic counselor to a number of presidents from Dwight D. Eisenhower to Ronald Reagan. When he spoke, his opinions carried weight and Washington listened.

Arthur Burns was also Jewish, so when he began attending an informational White House group for prayer and fellowship in the 1970s, he was accorded special respect. In fact, no one knew quite how to involve him in the group and, week after week when different people took turns to end the meeting in prayer, Burns was passed by-out of a mixture of respect and reticence.

One week, however, the group was led by a newcomer who did not know of Burns’ status. As the meeting ended, the newcomer turned to Arthur Burns and asked him to close the time with a prayer. Some of the old-timers glanced at each other in surprise and wondered what would happen. But without missing a beat, Burns reached out, held hands with others in the circle, and prayed this prayer: ‘Lord, I pray that you would bring Jews to know Jesus Christ. I pray that you would bring Muslims to know Jesus Christ. Finally, Lord, I pray that you would bring Christians to know Jesus Christ. Amen.’

Burn’s prayer has become legendary in Washington. Not only did he startle those present with refreshing directness, but he also underscored a point about ‘Christians’ and ‘Christianity’ that needs repeating regularly. It highlights another important aspect of the truth of calling: Calling reminds Christians ceaselessly that, far from having arrived, a Christian is someone who in this life is always on the road as ‘a follower of Christ’ and a follower of ‘the Way.'”*

Before you judge a situation, consider that your judgment might not be an accurate assessment of the situation

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