“Judge not according to appearance…” (John 7:24)
I was in one of my favorite coffee shop hangouts recently, one where I know most of the baristas there, when I saw a proselytizing action that bothered me immensely, one solely based upon appearance. There, at the coffee shop, what unfolded before me was a young female customer handing over to a barista a few dollars stuffed into a small pamphlet. What was the pamphlet? One of those Christian conversion pamphlets I often see in bathrooms of public places that focus in on being saved.
Why this bothered me so immensely was the action was based solely upon this barista’s appearance. How did the barista look? She had bright green hair, black mascara that spread out from the sides of her eyes in triangles, and a nose ring. What I found even more frustrating was that this barista wasn’t even the person who waited upon this customer. It was simply an action that was based upon a judgment from what the customer saw with their eyes. And when that customer left, I watched her smile and glow as if she had done the most amazing action to someone she judged really needed it.
Here’s what she didn’t know. The girl with the green hair is a pretty awesome person. She loves to dance in the store to 80’s music. She greets every customer with an amazing smile and a friendly hello. And always, and I mean always, makes sure that every drink she crafts is done to perfection. She truly exudes a joy in what she does that I would go so far as to say already represents the joy of Christ. So why did she need a Christian pamphlet? She didn’t. Yet this is what I struggle often with people who proselytize their religion. They often try to save others they judge need it, who don’t need saving. They claim themselves as knowing more than the person they feel they need to save.
What I’ve come to learn in my walk with Christ, one that isn’t a religious walk and more a spiritual one, is that people will ask me when they are interested in my faith, not the other way around. I don’t believe it’s my purpose to ever judge someone else needs Jesus, or Buddha, or Mohammad, or anyone. It’s my job to not judge another on what they need at all, especially in their faith walk. It’s my job to simply be unconditionally loving and treat everyone as my equal.
Nevertheless, after that customer left that day, I talked to this barista and learned this regularly occurred in her life, which I find sad because in my book, she already represents the Jesus I know, someone who stands apart from the masses and does their best to love everyone, unconditionally. Did she need Jesus? No, but ultimately, maybe it was the customer who needed to get in touch with a little more of that…
Dear God, help me never to judge others by appearance or deem who needs you and who doesn’t. Help me instead to just love others unconditionally, just as you do of me…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson