Judging vs. Loving

I stereotype. Sad to say but I do. If you look like a duck and quack like a duck, you’re likely to be a duck. It’s not always the case but it typically is. Last night, I pulled into church and there was a black guy with dreadlocks, built like a brick-house in a Tahoe with 30 inch wheels and tinted windows parked right in front of our front door. (Our church is in a strip mall in a rough part of town just so ya know.)

Initially I was upset because this guy didn’t move his vehicle. I mean right in front where you couldn’t even see the doors. I grabbed my stuff, said hey under my breath and walked on in. I had to prepare the charts for our worship team but after I finished, I had some time and since my beloved Cardinals were playing the Brewers I decided to go outside for a smoke on my pipe (Sorry if that offends you) and listen to the game on my MLB app.

I went to my truck to grab my bag and I noticed I was somewhat wrong about this guy who parked in front of our church. He had locked his keys in his car so he couldn’t move if he wanted to. So I approached him smoking my pipe and his daughter said, “Dad, that pipe smells better than that stuff you smoke.” I politely asked what he smoked and He cut his eyes at her and I quickly realized what he smokes.

I know a trick to get doors open so I asked if I could help. I’m not as bad as those who left the hurting Jew on the side of the road (Luke 10:25-37). I do stereotype, but I also love people. So I worked on his truck for a few minutes. Saving you the details of my labor I finally opened the door and he was very thankful. I gave him a card and invited him to church.

Let me say, I’m not racist. My pastor is part black and one of my best friends in High School is black. I’m not against people expressing themselves. I just don’t understand the baggy pants, and loud obnoxious music, and just plain disrespect towards others. What I do know is people need to be loved and thanks to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for we are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:8).

Things irritate me. I don’t like people for some reasons. All people can be idiotic at times. All people can get on my nerves. And what I’ve come to realize in this town, is people will surprise you. They can look like a punk and be such a great person and vice versa. Unfortunately I do “judge books by their cover”. I like it when I’m wrong. It’s another step in my sanctification process to not be a butt and judge folks on how they look.

Loving others regardless of their image or actions can be hard. You don’t know the outcome.But I think regardless of how you might be treated in the outcome, God will always bless those who give and love because it’s like we’re loving and giving to Him.


About Kevin Riner
child of grace, worshiper of Jesus, husband, father, Pastor of Village Church, author of Faith Debugged

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