He turned and caught my eye. He wasn’t sure if he should look. But he did. I wasn’t sure if I should return the look. But I did.
He was pushing his bike in the intersection when the left arrow turned green. It was my turn to go. But he was in the way. I had to wait.
Maybe he didn’t mean to catch my eye. Maybe he was just checking to make sure I wasn’t going to charge into him. Or maybe he was checking to see if I was going to make some obscene gesture. Or mouth some bad words. I didn’t do any of that. I just looked at him. I waited.
I continued to look. I saw sadness about him. Uncertainty. Unhappiness. Desperation. I wondered why he wasn’t riding the bike. I wondered why he wasn’t driving a car.
I wondered what got him to this point in his life. Had he made some wrong decisions? Did he have some habits he couldn’t break? I didn’t mean to judge. But I did.
I remember someone else I see regularly standing on that same street corner. She holds a sign. Need money. No job. Please help. The thing is. I’ve seen her there for over a year now. Once a week. I sometimes see her walking up to that corner. I always wonder where she came from. She pulls out her sign and unfolds it. Like it’s her job. I wonder if it is her job. To stand on that street corner and ask for money. Perhaps she’s standing on a different street corner every day.
I wonder why she hasn’t gotten a job yet. I wonder if she’s scamming people for money. And that’s her job. I wonder if she really is homeless. She doesn’t look homeless.
I don’t look her in the eye. I look away instead. I’ve been known to put on my sunglasses so I can look at her without looking her in the eye. I don’t trust her motives. I don’t mean to judge. But I do.
Then I remember a man who was judged. He was hung on a cross and left to die. Three days later he shocked the world and left the tomb where he had been buried. He could have saved himself. But he didn’t. He could have been the judge and jury of those accusing him of things he didn’t do. Of things he didn’t say. But he didn’t.
Instead, he showed love. As he hung on that middle cross, dying. One rebel hanging with him cursed him. The other rebel defended him and asked to be remembered. Jesus looked over to the man and offered salvation. Later that day, the man was in heaven. Meeting up with God. Because one man, Jesus Christ, cared enough to look him in the eye. To offer hope and salvation and eternal life. Instead of judging him. In the last minutes of that rebel’s life, he was forgiven. He was given eternal life in heaven.
It’s never too late to receive Jesus’ love and forgiveness. All you have to do is ask.
It’s never too late to stop judging others. It’s never too late to share God’s love. It’s never too late to offer the hope of heaven.
Maybe I need to start looking more people in the eye.