Last week I was reminded of a valuable lesson about judging others. As most offices do, we were having our office Christmas gatherings. Each team was responsible for planning and bringing a dish as well as participating in Secret Santa if they chose.

On Thursday, the day shift team came together for their party of sorts. And the mid/night shift team was planned for Friday. The interesting fact in all of this is I work day shift, but I am part of the mid/night shift team. Therefore, I of course did not participate on Thursday because my assigned day was Friday. To make matters more interesting I am seated in the mist of the day shift crew and my shift begins before most of the regular day shift.

On Friday, I came marching happily in with my dish for our party only to receive some of the most interesting looks I have ever seen. Followed by a question of "What did you bring us today?" Just as matter a fact as a innocent child I said "Macaroni and Cheese for my team party today." The looks turned to those of stunned dear in headlights.

Immediately, there was a laugh from one of the ladies who follow it up with "What? When did you get put on that team?" Puzzled I said, "Excuse me? I've always been on that team." She laughed again and said "Well, that sure explains a lot. We always thought you were on our team and were under the impression that you just did not what to participate with us. We did not know why, but figured you just did not want to have anything to do with the activities we were having."

I could not help, but laugh so hard that I almost peed my pants. These ladies that I been sitting with, trying to be friendly to and interacting with for months thought I was being anti-social. It seemed to make sense considering I sit in the midst of them, but I am not part of them. But the funny thing is their perception of things was totally off. They were looking at things thru the wrong lenses. And they were judging the situation without knowing all the facts.

How many times have I done that I asked myself? How many times have I misjudged or simply passed judgment on person or situation because I not only did not have all the facts, but I didn't take the time to get them?

There are so many lessons to be learned here. Lessons about looking at things through eyes of faith. Lessons about not allowing things to cloud our judgment. Lessons about being in the midst but not being part of the crowd. However the one that stood out that particular was that we should be careful passing judgment because things are not always as they seem. And maybe that sums up all the lessons in one if you take time to put it together, but however you look at it. I believe it is a powerful one just the same.

In Matthew 7:1-2, Jesus says "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."

Those verses remind me that I need to take care in how I look at things and collect the facts as well as show grace and mercy in every situation. For that same grace and mercy was measured to me and will be measured back in return.