“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.” Matthew 7:1-2

“He didn’t even put my name on my cup,” I silently grumbled after walking away from the counter.

Although I held a freshly-brewed Americano in my hands, nothing about my quick stop at Starbucks met what I’d come to expect from the well-known brand.

A friendly, early-morning smile was missing, as was the communication about where to pick up my drink. The barista didn’t appear to feel happy about making my coffee in the morning.

It was nothing like what I’d come to know and expect from a Starbucks experience.

As I began to walk out the door, I entertained several judgmental thoughts that began blasting through my mind. But soon, a new thought raced in and challenged them:

Why do I lack so much empathy?

In a moment of awareness, my thoughts began changing and I wondered what the barista’s morning was like before I walked up to the register. I didn’t know what happened between him and the other customers he’d already served that day. I wasn’t aware of the training he had or had not received. Maybe he overslept. Maybe he had personal issues.

I became convicted about how quickly I judged him without stopping to understand and ask why.

My Starbucks experience is a small example of encounters we face every day.

People don’t act the way we expect them to, they don’t say the words we hope to hear. Whether we’re dealing with family members, teammates, workplace colleagues and clients, people at the doctor’s office and more, we’re going to be surrounded with opportunities to give grace.

It’s oftentimes much easier to judge one another than it is to stop, ask and understand why.

But if we’ll look beyond our unmet expectations with God’s heart for people, we’ll see that everyone faces complexities in life. When we see people as human, just like us, we’ll offer empathy in exchange for judgment and give people grace to simply have bad days.

Prayer: Father, help me exchange my judgment for grace, especially for those who don’t meet my expectations today.

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