We have all heard the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” While most of us try our best to live by that saying, we all inevitably make judgements about the people around us. We take what we see in someone and often let that dictate how we feel about them, even when it isn’t the whole story. It wasn’t until I started working in a pediatric hospital that I came to truly understand how wrong our assumptions can be.
Walking by a boy and his dad, both laughing and smiling in the waiting room, I thought to myself, “There’s no way that’s who I’m looking for… this patient is slowly dying of cancer and that boy looks happy and carefree.” Yet, when I called his name, they stood up with big smiles and showed me their wristbands. This was my patient. I was shocked by how kind and friendly they were while going through something so devastating.
A few weeks later, I roomed a patient without seeing the referral beforehand. The entire family was on their phones and gave short answers to all of my questions, almost ignoring me the whole time. I left the room feeling disappointed that they had been rude, wondering what I had done wrong. Handing off the papers to the provider, he asked me how they seemed to be doing after losing their new baby so suddenly. My feelings towards that family immediately changed.
Seeing either one of these families out in public, not knowing their stories, my immediate assumptions about them would have stuck. Being on the “inside” of situations like these has given me a new perspective: you truly never know what someone is going through. We are not the ones that should be making judgements about others, as we do not know what is in their hearts. Luke 6:37 tells us, “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.” I hope that I can continue to learn through these experiences and become more Christlike in my interactions with those around me.