Admit it. We all do it. We’re prone to mocking, criticizing and judging music that we do not like or think that we do not like! It’s easy to do because we all have our own opinions and tastes and we all come from different backgrounds and cultures.
This was me not so long ago when a friend of ours kept sharing how AMAZING Kari Jobe’s newest album “Where I find You” is. I heard snippets of the album for the first time as we rode in the back of our friend’s car while she blasted it loud and sung along like it was the greatest song in the history of the world! “It’s ok,” I thought. “It’s not doing much for me.” And that was it, end of story. I had formed my final opinion and would not be buying the album… or so I thought – that is, until my wife informed me that she wanted it and made me purchase it for her on itunes! Guess what I’ve had the privilege of listening to over and over for the past month?!!
And then it started… it began to grow on me like an unstoppable force! With each listen I began to appreciate the beauty and uniqueness of her voice, I began to enjoy the creativity of the songs, I began to relate with the message of the lyrics and I was moved by the anointing and heart-cry of this singer, songwriter! And now I admit that I love it!! What at first seemed to be nothing, turned into something… GREAT!
The same scenario can be true of people. It can be so easy for us to judge, criticize and write-off people we barely know or don’t even know at all! We can do it verbally or mentally. Sometimes we do it because we’ve heard something negative about that person, sometimes we do it because of racial or social prejudices, sometimes we do it because of their appearance, personality or their past. Whatever the reason, it’s wrong – and when we judge people, we’re the ones who miss out!!
Take Fred, the Mall Cop for example. I can still remember when I met him, a short guy with a thick New York accent who was wearing a giant black ranger hat & uniform along with badge. His job was to keep the peace inside the mall and he was making his rounds near the coffee shop where I was drinking a mocha. I could have easily written him off with a simple nod of the head or ignored him all together. Instead, when Fred approached with his big grin & New York greeting of “How you doin?” (Which sounded almost like a foreign language to this west coast guy), I couldn’t help but to introduce myself and greet him back. That introduction turned into many more conversations, which eventually turned into a friendship. I began to learn about Fred’s story, his experiences, his struggles, his passions and his dreams. I found that we had much in common – things like music, food and faith in God. There were times that we would hang out at that coffee shop and laugh about stuff so hard until we couldn’t laugh anymore! And then there were times where we would pray for one another and encourage each-other to keep pressing on.
It’s amazing to me what time and God can do to change a person or a situation. In a few years Fred went from being a Mall Cop bachelor to being a married husband who is now serving as a do-everything pastor in his local church in a different state!
If there is ever a time where I’m in need of some good laughs or powerful prayer, all I have to do is pick up the phone and call my friend Fred… the former mall cop.
So purpose to live by Christ’s golden rule to “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Luke 6:31
Love people, give them a chance, reach out, start a conversation and spend some time with them. You never know, you may just find a life-long friend like Fred! – Derek