What I learned from passing judgment on others (Part 2)

….. continued from (Part 1) 


I rehearsed a handful of responses as I walked toward their car. Although I didn’t know them, I was certain that they were going to ask me for money. Lately I had been approached by a number of transients asking for help. Rather than constantly giving money, I made a practice of keeping snacks in my car to give to give to those who were hungry. But honestly, I found this to be tiresome, and was no longer doing it with a joyful heart.

As I drew closer to the car I couldn’t help but fall into my natural tendency to judge others. It’s not that I set out each day to demean people. It’s that I had developed a bad habit that was extremely hard to break.

Taking a closer look, I noticed that the man and woman were quite homely in appearance. The man wore a bright blue knitted-sweater and thick-framed glasses, both which seemed to have been purchased from a JC Penny’s catalog from the 80’s. His hair was blond and shaggy, and had a vintage flair to it. The lady’s appearance complimented his attire. Her hair was shaped like Velma from Scooby-Doo, and she wore a striped-turtle-neck sweater paired together with some mom-jeans. As I glanced at them again, I prepared myself for the worst. In my mind I knew that this wasn’t going to end well. However, before I could speak a word, the lady spoke up and said, “Pastor John, my husband and I would like to invite you out to dinner.”

I must have looked quite puzzled, because they both chuckled a bit. “And don’t you say no Pastor,” she said, “we got you covered. Do you like Village Inn?” In shock, I didn’t respond. This scenario didn’t play out the way as I had imagined, and I was at a loss for words. “Just follow us there,” she said. Still startled, I got into my car and followed their little Yugo to Village Inn.

As we sat at the table, they began to share their story with me. They had traveled from up-state, to our border town, in route to the dentist in Mexico. They had heard that dental care was significantly more affordable, across the border, and decided to try it out. They were presently surprised at the amount they had saved. However, the dentist wasn’t able to complete all the work in one day. Since the dentist closed their office for the weekend, they had decided to stay in our city and head back to finish the work on Monday.

This couple was definitely not shy. You could tell that they loved conversation. They went on to explain that they had heard about the healing revival on the radio and attended with the hope of making some Christian connections in our city. They expressed that they were disappointed with the attendance of the event, but they trusted that God knew what he was doing by pointing them there. Then they went on to say that they were certain that God had led them to me.

At this point, my spidey-senses set off every alarm in my body. I knew there was a catch to our meeting, they obviously wanted something from me. However, the proved me wrong once again. They went on to share how they had met at bible college, and chose to live a simple life so they could drive from city to city and find people to pray for. Rather than chase after material possessions, they wanted to be free to serve God in whatever capacity He called them to.

As the conversation continued, they began to ask me about my life. They seemed genuinely interested to know about my background, my ministry, and my vision in life. As I shared my story, they both seemed to hang on to every word that I spoke. As I observed the manner in which they listened, I couldn’t help but feel humbled that they were taking time to know me. I was overcome by a sense of calmness and felt my tension dissipate.

As the man listened to my story his eyes began to fill with tears. His wife, who was the most outspoken of the two then told him, “Honey, if you have something to say, you need to say it.” “God doesn’t just put things on your heart for you to keep them there.” As the man began to speak, he directed every word to me, “God has given you the heart of David. You are a man after his own heart.” “Keep going honey,” his wife said. The man continued to speak, most of his words are now a blur in my memory, but there are a few things that I will never forget. “You will fail many times, but the Lord will still see your heart,” he said, “You were created to worship Him. You were created for His glory. You were created for royalty.”

I was in need of healing.

In retrospect, there a couple things that I discovered that night. The first being, that I was the one that needed healing. It wasn’t that my physical body was ailing. It’s that my heart was. The truth is that I ignored every prompt that God had given me that night. It started with an invitation to a revival, then an invitation to dinner, and then an inevitable reminder that, as a human-being, I will fail. Today I am able to see that it was my heart that needed healing that night….. and God sent random people to bring it to me. For the first time, in a long time, I was able to see how my pride and judgmental spirit were keeping me from experiencing the things that God had prepared for me.

God always sees my heart

God also used this couple as a prophetic voice to remind me of how God sees me. Since that moment I have failed God, I have failed family, and I have failed friends countless times. I assume that if we were to pile each failure one on top of the other, it would rise higher than Mount Everest. The awareness of this fact is enough to humble the proudest man. Nevertheless, I am constantly reminded that in the midst of my errors, God always sees my heart. Regardless how dark the day may be, there is always a desire to know Him and make Him known. There is a desire to align my life with His will and see His kingdom come. As dark as my past may be, the future is always brighter. Why? Because I was created to be royalty.

I often wonder what happened to this couple. We didn’t exchange numbers. I never saw them again. However, I bless God for them. Who would have thought that the awkwardest of situations would be a portal to a message from God.

Unapologetically yours,

 

John Eli Garay.


P.S. Hey friend! If you find this blog to be of value, please take the time to leave a comment or share it on your newsfeed. It is my desire that my story will bring hope, healing, and encouragement to those who need it. Blessings! 🙂

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Categories: judgement, Life LessonsTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

John Eli

John Eli has spent over 15 years mentoring and coaching individuals in life skills, career transitions, and through organizational change. He has worked in behavioral health, pastoral care, and higher-education. He has found that he is most satisfied in life when he is helping people recognize their potential and assisting them to reach their goals.

He currently lives in Chandler, Arizona with his wife, mini-schnauzer and an antique piano whom he calls, “Betty.”

43 Comments

  1. I love this John. I will tell you about a dream I once had that’s related to this. The short version. I was given money but was told it would never be enough. I would find out later that, was my prayers. But I had something in my pockets. It was coins, and lots of them. I looked at the person in my dream but said to myself, yes but I have something to spend that you know nothing about. Those were God’s coins. I am not saying that prayer is not good or important as that is my calling but God wants more. HE wants us to spend HIS money. And that money is just the situation you describe here. It’s meeting people, getting to know them, sharing hearts! That is JESUS. Right there! That is spending GOD’s coins! GOD Bless you John!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Well worth waiting for, John. It really is humbling to see how God uses those seemingly frail and broken people to actually minister to us and set us straight. Your conclusion was particularly touching and fitting, and speaks to the heart, I imagine, of every believer who truly seeks to serve and love God in the midst of our failures. It is worth repeating:

    “Regardless how dark the day may be, there is always a desire to know Him and make Him known. There is a desire to align my life with His will and see His kingdom come. As dark as my past may be, the future is always brighter. Why? Because I was created to be royalty.”

    Well done, John!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. atimetoshare.me

    Great post, John. Maybe these were angels sent from God to give you precisely what you needed at the time. I’ve run across a lot of folks like that in my life. God always plants the right people in our path to sprout just when we need to get back on track.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Hi John, good mornin buddy.

    I don’t know anything about those people, so I’m not speaking anything about them. So I’ll give them the benefit of doubt.

    But I will tell you that back in the 1980s, I was charismatic, involved in a charismatic assembly.

    And generally there’s a lot of good fellowship, but there’s also a lot of caution to be exercised as I look back in hindsight. There’s a tendency that seems to be common within charismatic groups, of many people having a word from God to give to someone. It was common then, as I recall someone giving me such a word about something that set my hopes toward,

    It’s a very serious matter to go tell someone that the Lord said this…

    But in the charismatic culture where being especially anointed, or being a prophet and such is on display…there sometimes seems to be no restraint on people claiming that God said…

    I’m just saying be careful buddy. That’s all. Just be discerning and be very careful.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jena Harris

    John, I’m so grateful. I have a full heart today! Thank you for sharing your brilliance and the interview today! You are a gift from God! Keep shining brother! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dora

    Good morning my friend John. Wow this was truly amazing. If this is not an eye opener to many of us, than we will never truly understand what gods purpose or mission for us is in our life or in this world . I can’t even begin to put into words how many times I have failed in many ways. Not just myself, my family, or my friends but god. But I need to do more. God doesn’t want our money and its not about our good deeds. It’s about sharing what god has given us. His love, his grace, forgiveness, his word. Our purpose in life is to share these amazing gifts and blessings with the world. To be humble and proud of where we have been, were we have come out from, and the love and grace that god has given us to be where we are today. I thank you my friend. You have always been honest and open to express who you are. I thank you because you are never ashamed to address what you think or how you feel. That’s an amazing asset to have. You have always been an inspiration to me. When Im not where I need to be you always seem to say something or post something and I find my way. Please continue with your testimonies that you have. They are a testimony of who you are and all your life’s journeys. Thank you. God bless you abundantly for he has blessed me with you as my friend. Couldn’t have asked god for a better gift or friend. Who goes beyond his own life with the help of god. To lift the spirits of others, gives hope when someone needs it and inspiration and faith to those who seem to be running on low. Have a blessed day.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I can’t help thinking that God sometimes deliberately uses situations so that exactly the opposite of what we imagine or think is going to happen, happens, to make us aware of what He can do and will do if only we trust Him. Thank you so much for sharing this John, it definitely was worth the wait. Grace and blessings!

    Liked by 3 people

      • The Apostle Paul used to call himself the chief among sinners and a dear Christian brother of mine who is now with the Lord used to say, “Move over Paul, it’s a long long bench”. I marvel that He puts up with us, but He does, so much so that knowing our frailty, He died for us so that we could be complete in Him. You’re not alone John. Grace and blessings my friend.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Good morning John,
    WOW! What a testimony. It’s so encouraging how God so lovingly orchestrated all of this for you. Thanks for sharing because it’s causing me to do a self-check about how I can be somewhat judgmental at times. Work in progress. Thanks again and have a great weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you for sharing. I just read a post that stressed that God does not erase our failures, He uses them to help others and strengthen our relationship with Him. He will place our failures as far as the east is from the west , but as I see it, they become part of our arsenal and testimony. I am certain your story will help others. I thank God for your ministry.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Wow. Look at God! I love this story. I once gave a woman a ride, a stranger who asked me out of the blue. I felt safe enough to drive her though I did not know her. (Long story). Anyway, it turned out she lived in an unexpected and sad location. As she got out of the car she thanked me and told me she hoped she could do me a favor someday. I asked her to pray for my family as her favor to me. She never asked for money or took advantage in any way. Her gracious kindness as she exited touched me. It’s difficult because I have been taken advantage of at other times. May God help me discern and be willing to extend myself again, seeing each person as a precious one with a story to tell.

    Liked by 1 person

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