She’s ‘Bananas’

Seems we preachers are always looking for illustrative material to use to help accent a point. Well, here’s one I found with respect to labeling and judging:

A lady was being admitted to the hospital, and as the procedure goes, she was asked if she was allergic to anything. They needed to know so they could make the appropriate notation on her wrist band. The lady told the nurse that she was allergic to certain types of fruit, specifically bananas. A couple of hours later the lady’s grown son stormed the nurse’s station and said, “All right! Who’s responsible for labeling my mother ‘bananas’?”

Just a simple misunderstanding, but how true to life this illustration is.

We are often guilty of inappropriate judging and false labeling. Take these situations:

  • If a woman likes to wear makeup and bright and fancy clothes, she’s judged as arrogant or self-absorbed. The reality is that she’s excited about life, and happy to be a Christian. Her bright clothing reflects her happy heart (Rm. 12:15).
  • If a man drives an expensive car, he’s labeled as materialistic and having misplaced priorities. Yet, little does the one judging take into account the fact that here is a man who is a good steward of his blessings, and uses his wealth to be a blessing to others (3 Jn. 2).
  • If you walk by someone and say hello, and they don’t respond back in kind, that individual is judged as either too good to talk to you or he has a chip on his shoulder. However, what you didn’t know is that this man just lost his job and is trying to figure out where he goes from here.
  • If the preacher on Sunday offends because he preaches against something you did on Friday or Saturday night, he’s labeled as being an extremist or out of touch. Though, if the one offended took the time to get to know the preacher he would learn that the preacher has the best interest of each Christian in mind, and is simply preaching the truth of God’s word the best way he knows how (1 Cor. 2:2; Eph. 4:15).

You could add a hundred and one other examples to this list. False judging and incorrect labels on others are precisely what Jesus was talking about when he said, “…judge not that ye be not judged” (Mt. 7:1). Jesus is saying that we must not be hypercritical and make judgments based on superficial investigation.

Now, that’s not to say that Jesus condemned all judging. For, in the same context that he warned of judging, he said, “Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgement” (Jn. 7:24). That is, we appraise one’s character based on consistent conduct. There are occasions when judgments must be made.

Let’s always give one another the benefit of the doubt. Be sure to get to know someone before passing judgment. Even then, be careful not to judge another’s heart unless that heart has been revealed to you (1 Cor. 2:11).

–Neil Richey

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