His arm was covered in tattoos, and he reeked of cigarette smoke.
And he sat by me in class.
Oh no! I thought in a panic. Why did I choose this seat?
I greatly desired to hide under the table for the 79 minutes left of class.
Instead, I just sat there awkwardly, hoping the fella wouldn’t pull out a gun or sneak some weed into my backpack.
You know the feeling.
When you enter society for any occasion, you’re bound to encounter some rough-looking folks. Maybe they have scruffy beards, tongue piercings, or ugly tats.
But how should we respond to the people who are different than us? After all, aren’t we supposed to treat everyone equally? Aren’t we not supposed to judge people?
In a word, yes.
“Do not judge, so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:1-3 NASB)
Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, being diligent to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:1-3 NASB)
We’re all sinners. Christians are simply sinners who have recognized God’s grace. (That doesn’t make us better or worse than non-Christians.)
We are definitely called to love the lost, but sometimes, believers are naïve about doing it. They think they can do absolutely anything and never get hurt. God has given you instincts that let you know when a situation is or isn’t safe. DON’T IGNORE THOSE INSTINCTS.
I wouldn’t recommend you go evangelizing on the streets alone or hang out in a food pantry by yourself for a few hours. Even though God is protecting you, you still have to keep your guard up. It’s not a sin to take precautions to protect yourself. You aren’t claiming to be better than others by bringing your mace to work or avoiding a sketchy area when you walk home from school. You’re just being precautionary.
As with most things, there is a balance between being judgmental and being safe. Should you punch the guy with six earrings when he’s just standing on the sidewalk? Of course not. But should you walk off with him, discussing different religions? Nope.
(These tips especially apply to females, by the way.)
Use your God-given instincts, don’t run to danger, and take precautionary measures. It’s simple.
Be peaceful, tolerant, humble, gentle, and patient (Ephesians 4:1-3). Don’t judge others or put yourself on a pedestal (Romans 14:10). It’s simple.