After 20+ years of working with a variety of troubled youth to post-incarcerated to homeless and near-homeless folks, you would expect that I would have a handle on judgement.  After all, I have pretty much seen and heard it all to know better than limit people based on perceived capability.  God pointed out that I still have something to learn.

The other day, I was to have a crew of men that frequent our mission assemble to do a pay it forward clean up project at a local church that ministers to some 30+ children in a low-income, statistically high crime area of our city.  Only one man showed up for work. In hindsight,  choosing a Monday for a project was likely my first mistake after a weekend.


Bob was the only man to report for duty that day.  I will admit that I had thoughts of canceling the project and moving it to another day when more men could come out, but Bob assured me that he and I could get the work done.  My thoughts were not based on the lack of men, but more so my lack of faith that Bob could do the work.  I even joked with him that if he didn't drive me crazy complaining about the work for at least an hour that I would buy him a coffee.  He laughed saying "You're on!"

Now, just to qualify my relationship with Bob - I see him every single day....sometimes he is the very first person.  Each day he questions "Have you been told yet today?"  Told what?  Told that God loves me and so does he....and usually followed by a big bear hug.  Bob has mental health issues and had suffered in-imaginable abuse as a child.  Some of his stories of are wildly untrue, but that is all he has to talk about most times.  His timing is mostly off, barging in my office unannounced, regardless of whom I am talking with at the time.  However, he has grown on me and I look forward to seeing him....well, most times anyway.

So he is the only guy to show up for my work crew and I am thinking of how little is going to get accomplished.  However, we haven't even tried yet.  Was I basing this on what I thought he couldn't do. This judgement wasn't allowing Bob to prove himself and that wasn't fair of me not to allow him an opportunity.  Well, long story short, Bob proved me wrong!  He did an amazing job...cleaned up a half an acre yard, bag debris and mowed the lawn.

Now, I am a man of my word.  Bob more than earned his coffee, in fact I had to do better than that.  For my lack of faith and limiting in his opportunity, Bob earned a lunch out - my treat!

When we judge others, we limit their opportunity to be successful.  Thank you for that on-going life lesson Bob.

Note: Bob (is not his real name.  I do however have his permission to use his picture and share this story so he says others may learn from it.)

Published by Dan Morand