Freed from Judging My Seatmate

Freed from Judging My Seatmate

Before I became an author, I used to travel often to visit my team leaders or attend conferences. Airports are one of the greatest places to people watch. The cross sections of nationalities, cultures, races, body types and personalities provide endless opportunities to marvel at God’s creativity and our human quirkinesses.

As I sat in the gate area waiting for my plane to board, I’d check out the people who’d be on the plane with me. Inevitably, I’d try to guess who might be seated next to me. Or more accurately, I’d pick the ones I sure hoped would not be my seatmate.

If there was an infant or small child, I’d say a prayer to please be seated far away from them. If an obese person sat in the waiting area, my imagination would cringe at the picture it created of their body invading my precious personal space. Whoever I chose ahead of time and asked God not to seat me with became my seat partner. It never seemed to fail.

It took multiple coincidences–I like to call them God-incidences– before I realized that whoever I picked as someone I wanted to avoid, God would seat with me to teach me how wrong I was about one of His created wonders.

The Holy Spirit seems to be a patient teacher. Over and over again a lesson appears until we learn it. Isn’t that your experience, too? One day, I realized I better not look around too hard in the gate area and pick anyone out or for sure, they’d be sitting with me. And then like a summer shower, Hebrews 4:12 opened up to me.

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating even to dividing soul from spirit and joints from marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitude of the heart.”

My attitude was not very Christ-like, judging the outer appearances of people. My thoughts had been selfish, self-centered, and judgmental. God was showing me how concerned I was about myself and how uncaring I’d been about my neighbors. Oh, they didn’t live next door to me, but they were my plane neighbors for a few hours.

I knew what I was supposed to do with neighbors. I didn’t have to be so literal. A neighbor is a neighbor. Every person on that plane was the core of Jesus’ second greatest commandment.

Love your neighbor as yourself.

The command to love is a heart lesson. Like summer heat on a humid day, it strips our heart down. Love at its barest does not judge. It looks for ways to serve.

I may not always like how God is answering my prayer at any given moment, but when I strap myself into His will and His ways, I know He will get me where He wants me to go.  Thank you, Lord, for teaching me Your ways.

A person may think their own ways are right,
but the Lord weighs the heart.

Proverbs 21:2
About Chris Manion

The parable of the talents drives Chris Manion to keep sharing what God offers her. God’s joy and compassion shows itself in her memoir, God’s Patient Pursuit of My Soul which she wrote while rearing her two children and running a home-based multi-million dollar business, as well as her talks about trusting God and how to hear His voice. She's a musician, loves to laugh heartily, and teaches children of all ages. Visit her website for more info.

Comments

  1. I need this reminder on a daily basis! Thank you, Chris.

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