John 7:24: “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”
In time past, I sat in Dunkin’ Donuts every morning from the time the shelter boots us out until the library opens — about three hours. I drank coffee, did my prayer and meditation, used the bathroom and wrote in my journal. They tolerated me in part because I never ask anyone for money.
I went there this morning for the first time in months. This panhandler came in and asked me for a quarter. I shook my head. He approached another patron, a complete stranger to me. This man pulled out a dollar bill, gave it to the panhandler, and, pointing at me, said, “I’m loaning this to him.” He remarked to his companion that he always gives to anyone in need, and said, “I can’t see why [anyone] can’t.”
He evidently had not noticed my two heavy bags.
The facts of my cash situation include that, despite generous Christmas presents from my brothers, I still now must count every penny; and I had earlier this morning loaned my buddy BW two dollars.
Some other things the man didn’t know, from the bottom up: I have these sharp-looking dress shoes that a classmate gave me. My dress socks are from the shelter; actually, from my church — the clothes room at the shelter was almost out of dress socks last month, so I had asked my church to donate some. The last time I changed my trousers, this pair of cream-colored denims was all they had appropriate for office attire and in my size. A couple days later they provided me with this navy blue corduroy button-down shirt. The tie, a church member gave me many months ago; wearing a tie was a requirement in the class I just took for two months, so I got used to wearing it and now prefer to dress this way.
He also clearly does not live in a world where complete strangers constantly come up to you demanding cigarettes or money. (See: “Gimme.”)
I question whether Jesus said the words given in John 7:24. The task of “right judgment” is extremely slippery.