We should never judge one another. No. Never. Because, take little things. Like, oh, say . . . I don’t know . . . just off the top of my head: someone coming in very late to sacrament meeting. Or, maybe not just one someone. Maybe even . . . like . . . SEVEN someones. And let’s say they are trying to sneak in all quietly with downcast eyes, but they are having to step over and past other seated-on-time people’s knees, and five of the seven are actually rather small and rather irreverent and probably not having properly downcast eyes at all.
See. You want to judge them. You want to say, “Come on! Church doesn’t start ‘til 11:00! Get here on time.” I mean, I want to judge them because that would certainly never be me. But, I don’t because who knows really? I mean any number of things can happen, if you think about it, between one walking out their front door (with church only a half block away and ten minutes to spare) and one actually arriving at said church. Yes, any number of things.
For example, they could be heading off happily – pleased at their perfectly curled girls’ hair, and their overall promptness. And then, who knows? Maybe their two year old might see a wasp of some sort, and he might think to himself, “I ought to catch that wasp post haste!” and he might catch it, and then the mother – who was poised and pleased as could be – might turn and see her two year old shaking his little hand and sobbing and she might, through instinct or experience (one can never be certain with mothers) say, “Oh no! Did you get stung?? Did you pick up a bee??” And as she runs to him, she might notice an angry and disgruntled little wasp crawling away. And she might know, “Yes, you did pick up a bee . . . or something very like it.” And she might scoop her son up and think about how he is always swelling up and having allergic reactions to everything. So, she might decide she ought to give him some Benadryl and probably ought to find his epipen to bring along just in case, and she might be about to run in to get those things when a neighbor might drive by (in a perfectly timely on-time-to-church fashion) and that neighbor might stop and say, “Umm . . . I think you have a chicken on my front porch.” And the mom holding the crying toddler might say something like, “Oh . . . is it grey and kind of little . . .” as if, perhaps the neighbor is mistaken. As if it might possibly be someone else’s chicken (in a neighborhood where chickens do not live and are, quite probably, not allowed).
So, then the mom of this little group might run in and tell her husband (who is still tying his tie – which seems odd as they were all out on the front porch, with ten minutes to spare, ten minutes ago) that a chicken is loose and might possibly be leaving unmentionable things on a very well swept, well kept neighbor’s porch. And then she might shout for another daughter to find a little cloth to wrap around the stung brother’s hand (as some sort of placebo comfort mechanism), and that daughter might open the closet in the bathroom and purse her lips and think and think about which little cloth would be best as the mother is reaching rather frantically for it. Then, the mom might go to the medicine cabinet and stare and stare – trying to find the Benadryl, but not finding it – even though it is directly in front of her (because maybe she is a little frazzled and slightly less poised by this point). But eventually she might find it and give it to her sad little son as she continues to remind him about not picking up bees because that is just what they do.
Then, the mom might go back outside – only not really thinking that now they will all get to church, but thinking, “I wonder if they’ve caught that chicken yet.”
And she might look down the street and see her husband and several of her children trying to slowly hem in the chicken – only to have it pass them. She might then watch them all leap and dive and miss (time and again). And she might think about how these neighbors had workers there sprucing up their yard “just so” for several hours the day prior to this one, and she might wonder a little about the chasing of the chicken through flower beds and the like. And she might think it is a little embarrassing that her family is chasing a chicken across this yard in their Sunday best instead of sitting reverently in church in their Sunday best. But then she might remember that her neighbors can’t see because her neighbors are all at church already (or, possibly in a drunken slumber – as all neighbors who aren’t at church would certainly be).
And, in the end, she might find herself actually enjoying the sight and chuckling to herself as her husband instructs his young helpers to “make a tight circle” and “walk slowly” and, in the end, when a brave leap allows the husband to catch the squawking chicken (pretty much by its tail feathers), she might be laughing out loud.
Only, then she will see that it is about ten minutes past the hour, and the girls’ hair and dresses might not look quite so proper anymore, and the older son might be happily brushing dirt off of the knees of his pants. Still, the sight might have at least calmed the wasp-stung smallest boy. And, in the end, they might all make their way to church and walk in at the very back – only to have the very back full. So, they might make their way sheepishly up a few rows and have to climb over several people to find a place to sit, and the boy (who nobody in the congregation knows was just stung by a wasp) might start to cry loudly about needing his little cloth wrapped around his hand (even though nobody recalls which hand anymore – not even the boy).
And that is why we shouldn’t judge people at all. Mostly at all if they are late to church (or don’t go to church – because some judgmental people might say something like, “oh, they are probably all drunken and asleep anyway”). Because true, most likely that is not a scenario that would occur (heaven knows how I came up with it), but it could possibly occur, or something kind of like it, and I just thought it would be a good and important thing for us all to think about . . .