This week I was reminded again, that I have a lot of work to do. The reminder came on Monday afternoon while I was waiting to check-in for an appointment at the pediatricians office.
The office we visit has a check-in counter right inside the front door. As I walked in there was a woman at the counter being checked in, so I stood back in my best effort to give her some privacy while I waited my turn.
The receptionists verify information during check-in such as your name, your relationship to the child, your current mailing address, phone number, and type of insurance. While the other woman was checking in I admired her appearance. She was wearing adorable designer jeans that happened to be my favorite brand. She had on nice shoes (also my favorite brand) and a beautiful handbag. I noticed the nice way she wore her hair. She looked well kept and so did the child that was with her.
Although I stood as far back as I could in an effort to give them privacy, I couldn’t help but overhear when the receptionist asked about her insurance. At that moment I went from admiring her to judging her. I suddenly had a very critical eye.
This woman had government funded insurance for the child.
“How could she be standing there in $150 designer jeans, with new looking Danskos and a Michael Kors handbag slung over her shoulder but be relying on the government to provide medical care for this child? She’s working the system!!! She’s spending money on expensive clothing but can’t take care of this child’s medical expenses? Where are her priorities?? How dare she. She should be ashamed.”
The truth is, I should be the one ashamed. I don’t know that woman’s story, I don’t even know her name, yet somehow I just picked her to pieces in my mind by the flash of one little insurance card.
Maybe the jeans, shoes, and handbag were gifts. Should she not accept the gifts because she receives assistance for the child’s medical expenses?
Maybe the clothing and accessories were hand me downs or donations, should she not wear them because of what I think?
Maybe she’s had those clothes and shoes for a while but her financial situation has changed and she needs the help with insurance.
Maybe she’s newly divorced, separated, or widowed and she’s doing the best she can to take care of that child.
Maybe It’s not her child at all. Maybe she’s an aunt, or a friend.
Maybe she’s a foster parent and the state provides medical care for that child. Maybe has nothing to do with her “working the system” but everything to do with her being something positive in that child’s life. Maybe she’s helping the system not hurting it.
Maybe she does buy these things and still gets help from the government for her child’s health care…
Frankly it’s none of my business.
Who am I to pick her apart? I don’t know her. I don’t know her story. Is her worth really something for me to decide anyhow?
What about those who don’t appear to be well kept? Is their worth up to me? Are they of less value, beneath me, because of what they wear?
“But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.””
I Samuel 16:7 NKJV
Shame on ME for having a critical eye! Shame on ME for jumping to conclusions.
I too was wearing designer jeans that day, but the difference wasn’t the form of insurance, it was my ugly and critical heart.
“Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.”
I Peter 3:3-4 NKJV
Do you struggle like I do at times with judging or being critical of other people without knowing their story? Do you see people by their outward appearance rather than their heart?
Lord please forgive me for the times I’m critical and ugly towards other people. Help me to see people as people and care to know their hearts and their story. Remind me that you are who decides their value and worth, not me. Help me to see them as you do.
In His love,
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Originally Published November 18, 2015