Judge Not

Three times every day, rain or shine, a fellow who lives across the corner from us walks the same route. He leaves his house, crosses the corner and walks down our street to a certain house at the opposite end. He's always smoking a cigarette, he always coughs, and he always walks a little unsteadily. He's usually empty-handed, but sometimes he's taking something with him. One time it was a framed painting, one time a bag of things and yesterday it was a Rug Doctor. He returns in 15 or 20 minutes, goes back inside and doesn't  reappear unless it's to mow his lawn or sit on his porch, smoking.

Given the neighborhood, it's easy for me to suspect that he's a drug addict, but how can I really know? How can I judge? I try not to. And even if I'm correct, I don't know his circumstances. Maybe he's a vet who's gotten addicted through pain killers. Maybe he's helping out friends by giving them personal belongings to pawn. I can't know, and besides, it's really not my business.

Seems like everyone these days has set themselves up as judge and jury over other people's lives, and everyone's a hanging judge at that. Seldom do we experience leniency anymore, and giving each other the benefit of the doubt has flown out the window. Everyone assumes the worst, even of those we say we love. We've become stingy with the best parts of ourselves, those parts that set us apart from the beasts: grace, understanding, and empathy, and it's far easier to act from our fear than our reason. The truth is, everyone is just bloody terrified, thanks to television and other media, religion, and politics and as I've said before, there are only two emotions, love and fear; all others are the children of one of those two.

I don't quote biblical scripture much anymore, but Paul had some great things to say about love. Here's a comparative to ponder:
Love is patient and kind; 
(Fear is restless and mean)

Love is not jealous or boastful...
(fear is envious when it doesn't have what someone else has, and is egotistical when it does)

Love is not arrogant or rude.
(fear is conceited and 'in your face')

Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
(Fear is selfish; it is cantankerous and bitter)

Love does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.
(fear applauds the bad behavior of others, and ridicules their good deeds)

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
(Fear is cynical, believes in nothing, makes no room for positivity, and has no tolerance)

Love never ends.
(Fear is not our soul's natural state; it can be transformed into love)
Next week I'm making a bunch of Christmas goodies to leave anonymously on the porches of certain neighbors: the chap I just described, Myisha, who works two jobs to support herself (she's the young woman who bought our bicycle last Fall), and the young couple and baby who live directly across the street. None of these people have much and, hopefully, it'll surprise them with a little Christmas cheer. It's not much, but it's a start.


  1. Your idea of leaving the goodies is wonderful, Steph. I've learned that a little can be a lot when it's given with love.

  2. What a wonderful thing to do -- but exactly what I would expect from you. :) You're one of the good ones.

  3. No, no, that's not the point of this entry. Please pay more attention to the stuff above that last paragraph!

    Love you guys 8^*


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