I am sure you have come across people who criticize or judge others and others replying with just eight powerful words: “Do not judge a book by its cover”. This is an expression meaning you should not reach conclusions or judge someone by the way they look or behave. It means you should not decide upon something based on outward appearances.

We live in communities where people cannot help themselves but judge others. Some of the reasons might be that the person is seen to be a threat or it’s pure jealousy. We observe the way people who come from jails are treated. As a black child, we think that people don’t change, we forget that jails are meant to help convicts right their wrongs. I have a brother-in-law, accused of molesting a child, and I have heard some people say: “you can tell from the way he looks that he is capable of doing it”. What I love the most is that they speak as if they already have proof: “He wouldn’t have been accused of something he didn’t do; he must have done it”. How are we supposed to try and help them feel welcome or part of the community while we are the same people who judge them.

There is the saying: “Unity is Power” but we fail as a society to be one. Why? Because someone is different or they have gone through worse hardships than us, being treated as an outlier in the community is not easy with people talking behind your back. Judging others makes us blind, whereas love is illuminating. By judging others, we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.

Never stop doing your thing because of how people look at you. Remember, people always judge because they don’t know the truth of what happened. You have the advantage that you do know what is happening in your life, so go for it!

I came across a short story that I would love to share with you:

“An amusing story is told of a British business executive who arrived later than usual at Charing Cross Railway Station and entered the tearoom to await the next train to his destination. Feeling rather peckish, he bought a packet of biscuits to accompany his pot of tea. The tearoom was crowded, as was usual at that time, so he was not surprised when another suited gentleman asked to share his table. With typical English reserve, as between strangers, there was no conversation and both were engrossed in reading their evening newspapers. However, he soon noticed the stranger helping himself to the biscuits on the table and he was speechless. The time soon came for him to board his train and off he went, still feeling incensed at the stranger’s ill-mannered behaviour. Having boarded his train, he sat down in a first-class compartment and he opened his leather briefcase. Imagine his surprise when he discovered an unopened packet of biscuits of the same kind he had eaten with his tea at Charing Cross Station – the very same biscuits he thought the stranger had pilfered in such a bizarre manner!”

Now imagine his embarrassment when he thought about what his companion must have thought of him helping himself to what was not his, and how wrong he had been in his opinion of the other man’s moral character! You and I can recognize the irony of the story because we have probably misjudged people and situations ourselves and experienced the chagrin of being wrong about them. Our opinions of others are often based on insufficient evidence. For good reason, we have sayings like: “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. I repeat: NEVER JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER. Don’t judge others until you have walked in their moccasins.