Two Jehovah Witnesses came by the house yesterday morning. They were dressed up nice like usual and very polite. With a Joel Osteen grin, they both carried a Bible in one hand, JW materials in the other. Two different people actually came by a few weeks ago. They must not keep good records of who they contact. Or else word is spreading among the Jehovah Witnesses that the guy with the goatee on Danfield Drive really needs help.
They always “witness” in twos. I find the two man approach interesting. One does the hard work of silently praying for my soul while the other one does all the talking. One of these days I’m going to answer the door with some guy standing silently behind me – that should throw them off guard. Maybe the two silent ones can have a stare down or something.
It’s the same approach every time. He begins by talking about the nice weather and how he only wants a few minutes of my time. He tells me that God is the Creator of all of us and how we should read His word. I don’t disagree. He quickly opens his Bible – unsure of how much time he has before I cut him off. It feels like the Jehovah Witness version of American Idol; he is the nervous contestant and I am Simon Cowell. I can tell by his body language and slight nervousness that he gets a lot of slammed doors on him. He reads John 4:34 where Jesus says “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.” Just then I remember that my food (aka pancakes) are probably burning in the kitchen. He asks if I ever read my Bible. I told him I do – at which point he looked visibly surprised. Do I live in a pagan neighborhood, I wonder? Am I the only one who answered yes to that question recently? He then asks if I go to church. I told him I do – at which point he acts even more surprised. Now I’m starting to wonder if I should be offended. I’m also wondering how black my pancakes are. Do I not look like church material to him?? He then pulls out some JW materials and starts giving me a mini-Bible study in my driveway. To be honest, I didn’t really hear what he was saying. Partly I was wondering what was so surprising about me going to church. Mostly I was thinking about my pancake hockey pucks in the kitchen and if smoke inhalation had overcome my children yet. He must of sensed I was no longer tracking with him. He ended the study rather abruptly, left some material and expressed an interest in coming back next week.
I don’t mind them coming. I don’t even mind talking with them for a few minutes. What bothers me is their assumption that I’m going to hell. Of course, they don’t come out and say that but you can see it all over their face. You would think after I answered the Bible & church attendance question in the affirmative that they would move on to other neighbors. Nope. He treated me like I was some tribal indian living in an uncivilized section of Papua New Guinea. I swear he was even talking slow to make sure I could understand everything. As I was about to get mad at being judged by my appearance – my conscience quickly reminded me how I do that all the time – as recently as yesterday.
Yesterday, I was walking out of Walmart heading to my car when I saw a young man heading my direction. He was obviously a man on a mission – to me. As he got closer, I had the following thoughts:
- I really need to shop at Target more. No one approaches me in their parking lots.
- He had a skin head so that means he was in a gang.
- He had a sleeve full of tatoos which means that he was going to try to beat me up and take my wallet.
- He had a lot of ear piercings on both ears which means that he regularly enjoys mosh pits and loud rock music.
- He had a nose piercing which means that he does drugs for breakfast.
- He was wearing skater-type clothing which means he is a skater type person. Skater type people fall down on their skate boards alot and they get back up and do it again – which means he likes inflicting pain on himself.
- His pants were way down past his rear which means he does not own a belt.
- He had big black boots on which means he likes to kick small puppies for recreation.
- He had a goatee which means… ok, I wasn’t sure what that means since I, too, have a goatee.
Anyway – he was approaching me fast and so I did what everyone does in this situation… I sprayed him with pepper spray. No, actually – I avoided eye contact. As I am trying to get into the vehicle without him realizing that I am totally trying to ignore him – he says,
“Sir, I am part of ________ (name of some Christian ministry organization) and we are trying to raise awareness about ________ (name some important cause) and I wanted to give you this pamphlet to look over when you have a moment.”
Wow. I did NOT expect that to come out of his mouth. I also did not expect to still be the owner of my wallet or teeth.
As I got in the car I realized how much and often I judge others. I have a feeling – if you are honest – you make similar judgments. The dad with the screaming child at the store must be a terrible Dad. That screaming child must be a spoiled brat. The teenage boy with the extra long hair must have a poor attitude. The teenage girls at the mall must have Bieber fever. The overweight mom must be a glutton. The jogger on Sunday morning must not go to church. The guy who drinks beer at the restaurant must be an alcoholic. All Christians are hypocrites. All jocks are stupid. All blondes are air-heads. All politicians lie. All Muslims are terrorists. All rich people are greedy. All homeless are lazy. All Catholic priests are…. you get the point.
We despise being judged and yet we judge others all the time – with impunity – from the comfort of our own mind, without anyone knowing.
So, I guess the moral of the story is to quit judging others. Chances are, you don’t really know what’s going on with the “polaroid snapshot” you just took of their life.
I’m going to really try hard on this one. And if I get jumped in the Walmart parking lot by an overly pierced, skin-head, tatooed skater type with low riding pants and black boots… well, it won’t surprise me. After all, it’s what they do.
(More about judging others can be found at this post: “How dare you judge me while I judge you!”)