Be honest in your judgment and do not decide at a glance (superficially and by appearance), but judge fairly and righteously (John 7:24).

I used to look at the world through a pair of “snapshot-colored” glasses, ones that misled me into believing what I saw has always been and forever will be.  In other words, I would tend to “judge” others and my situation based solely on what I perceived rather than seeking to appreciate the history behind it, reasons for it and the future which (potentially) lies ahead.

It can be equated to determining what you think about celebrities from the pictures you see on the pages of tabloids, a homeless person in the brief glimpse of one on a sidewalk, or your circumstance based upon a moment of time.

Over the years, I have discovered my existence not to be just one long continuous journey, but rather a number of segments, chapters or seasons within the span of my life which comprise my story.  Realizing and embracing this “concept” has allowed me to look at my situation more optimistically and accept others with more grace and mercy.

Each episode of our life is the resultant of decisions we make or have been made, and those who have impacted us during that time.  How we accept, respond to and work through those circumstances oftentimes determines whether we move on to a new season or remain where we are.  

I know of a couple of boys who were raised in a grade-school drop-out single mother home in inner city Detroit.  The mother wanted the best for her sons and worked several jobs in order to put a roof over their heads and food on the table; however she wasn’t capable of helping them more educationally than to just make them read a great deal.  One of the boys grew up with a fierce temper and was known to violently fight with classmates, even to the point of pulling a knife on a friend during an altercation.

A “snapshot” of this situation would lead many of us to write these boys off to the “system” and to conclude they will kill or be killed at some point in their young life since this seems to be an all too common occurrence in many inner city communities.

Recently, I had the honor of meeting Doctor Ben Carson, who is touted as one of the most renowned neurosurgeons in the world.  He is gifted with the ability to see the brain in a three dimensional way which has allowed him to make some amazing discoveries and execute miraculous operations throughout the world on young children and twins conjoined at the brain.

I, like many others in attendance that evening, was in awe of him and the delicate God-given instruments of his hands with which he performs hundreds of surgeries a year on children at Johns Hopkins University.

A “snapshot” of Doctor Carson would produce an image of a gifted surgeon, compassionate humanitarian and dedicated family man.  Many would probably surmise he grew up in a good home with educated parents and access to the best schools that groomed and afforded him the opportunity to be where he is today.

However, Doctor Carson did not grow up with a silver spoon in his mouth, he was that young boy who was raised in the slums of Detroit and attempted to stab his friend out of anger.  Miraculously, the blade of the knife broke off on his friend’s belt buckle and both were spared that day - his friend from a life-threatening wound and Ben Carson from possible murder charges.

Here are two seemingly totally different people living on two diverse paths separated by a number of years, yet one and the same.

A mocker seeks wisdom and never finds it, but knowledge comes easily to those with understanding  (Proverbs 14:6).