“It is foolish to belittle one’s neighbor; a sensible person keeps quiet.”
Proverbs 11:12 (NLT)
A few years ago I heard a quote by Louis CK: “The only time you look in your neighbor’s bowl is to make sure that they have enough. You don’t look in your neighbor’s bowl to see if you have as much as them.” That quote is powerful and it has stuck with me ever since.
Imagine holding a glass bottle. Inside this bottle are characteristics and gifts you possess. Maybe you have patience in your bottle. Perhaps you’re adventurous and spontaneous. Or, wise and artistic. All of the things that make you who you are, are in this bottle. Although the bottle is clear, you can’t see everything inside the bottle at once.
Just because you know someone, doesn’t mean you know them. If you are focused on why they are dressed a certain way, you may not get the opportunity to discover that they are very kind-hearted and that you two have many things in common. If you judge them for something they’ve done in the past, you may not see that they’re actually humorous and easy to get along with.
What someone has done is not who they are. Where someone is now, is not where they’ll stay. Make a goal to see the good qualities in people. Pray that you will see them the way God sees them, and that you will have a discerning spirit in regard to who you’re interacting with. Sincerely searching for the good in others is so much more beneficial than judging them or focusing on negativity.
If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
James 2:3-4 (NIV)