Don’t Judge a Book…

by Texas Homesteader 

While RancherMan & I were volunteering for our local Food Pantry recently, I overheard a small group of people talking about a client that sometimes picks up food there for his family.  Something to the effect of “So-&-so picks up food for his household and I KNOW they must have money…”

This bothered me so much that although I certainly didn’t want to offend anyone, I felt the need to speak up.  I hope in my voice some seed of understanding was planted.

Don't judge a book by its cover. We don't know what life is like for that person we're seeing but she's worthy of our love & our help. #TexasHomesteader

What Does ‘Poor’ Look Like?

I know several people that are struggling – some temporarily and very recently.  Some due to circumstances beyond their control have been struggling for longer.

On the surface you can’t tell that they are struggling.  Many of the things they own were purchased and paid for when times were better for them. And of course nicer clothes can be purchased at a thrift store for very little money. So can jewelry, household goods and many other things that people like to have.

But For The Grace Of God Go I

But here’s the thing – all of us are just one unfortunate circumstance from being in that very same boat!  It’s easy to look over others when your life is going so well – your career is holding steady, children are healthy and happy, marriage is strong and you have no sudden unexpected medical conditions to plunge you into that place where no one wants to be.

But what if that weren’t the case??  What if your spouse left you or died?  What if your child developed a terrible medical condition?   What if you were laid off from your posh career?  In that case many of the nice things in your life that had always brought you comfort could very well come tumbling down like a house of cards.

And of course if that happened to you how would you react?  Would you suddenly start dressing in rags and start looking the part of a downtrodden citizen?  Of course not!  You’d hold your head as high as you could – you’d not advertise to the world that your world was crumbling whether temporarily or for the long haul.

Just. Show. Love!

Here’s my wish: The two most special seasons are upon us – the season of Thanksgiving  when we’re reminded to be thankful for those blessings we have whether large or small, and also Christmas when all of us feel that tug to be mindful of others’ circumstances.  So this year let’s all do our part to help & vow not to judge a book by its cover.

We don’t know what life is like behind closed doors for that person we’re looking at but she’s worthy of our help and our love.

In this season of caring and sharing, let’s all vow to show the love.

~TxH~

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45 thoughts on “Don’t Judge a Book…

  1. Melissa French, The More With Less Mom

    One of the biggest problems I see is people who are prospering and do not take the time to develop their child’s character and integrity, which are the only things you take with you in the face of a drastic change in circumstance. These parents then have to struggle with both poverty and the sense of entitlement they have taught their children. We can all raise good little people, regardless of our financial status. Thanks for posting. Hello from No Rules Weekend Blog Party.

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I can speak only from my own experience Melissa, but I know I really wanted to give generously to my children. I got so much joy from watching their excited faces, and as long as we had the income I feel there’s nothing wrong with that. But yeah, a change in income does make it a tough pill to swallow for children. I actually started scaling back on the size & number of their gifts when I figured out it was a struggle to top last year’s Christmas every year, but by then they were teens so I think they understood the dilemma and it wasn’t too difficult of an adjustment. I love your sentence “we can all raise good little people, regardless of our financial status” – true words! Now that our children are grown we give them homemade gifts from our hearts and I think they’re always received well. Sure it takes more time (and sometimes even more money) for homemade gifts but I feel we’re living our values, and that’s important to us.

      Reply
  2. Mindie

    I love this heart felt reminder and will be featuring you on (mis)Adventures Mondays Blog Hop tomorrow night. This world is so full of people judging who have no idea what is really going on. I love this post. People need to stop judging and start caring. Thank you for writing this!

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Sadly, I guess making snap judgements on others is just a temptation of human nature. I’m striving to resist that temptation and just show love this blessed holiday season. Wouldn’t the world be a wonderful place if we’d all push judgement aside if only for the season? Thanks for the feature Mindie! ~TMH~

      Reply
  3. Jessica

    I love this post! Thank you for saying it. A little compassion goes a long way on this world, and I don’t know anyone, struggling or not, who couldn’t use some extra compassion and kindness in their lives,

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Indeed Jessica. I wonder why it’s so much a part of human nature to judge others? But we all do it at different times – I’m making a concerted effort to push any nagging judgmental thoughts aside from now on and just show LOVE.

      Reply
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  5. Terri Presser

    This is great and so true, we always seem to be pointing fingers at other who we assume have so much, how do we know what is going on in their lives from looking at the outside. Thank you for this reminder at such a special time of the year. Thanks also for sharing at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings

    Reply
  6. Erlene

    I wish everyone were as thoughtful as you Tammy. A lot of people are quick to judge, but you never really know what is going on in someone’s life. Thanks for sharing this on Merry Monday…great reminder to everyone to be a little kinder to each other.

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I’d love to accept your praise Erlene and feel proud of myself, but I’ve been judgmental in the past too – I guess it’s just human nature. This post is as much of a reminder to myself as it is for anyone else. ~TMR~

      Reply
  7. Stephanie

    This is so true. My MIL stopped speaking to me, before she’d even met me (we were Facebook friends) when I said something about my daughter being on Medicaid. She didn’t know my circumstances, but she was sure quick to judge (I had just left a 10-year abusive marriage and was scraping by). I was immediately labeled a “gold digger” and “freeloader” and she turned her entire family against me, again, all before they’d even met me. Some people just have to feel superior and only therapy or – as bad as it sounds – a serious humbling, will change them.

    I see people complain when they see someone asking for help and it always upsets me, things like:
    “If you’re posting from a smart phone you must have money.” Good luck finding a cell phone that ISN’T a smart phone anymore, and almost all plans now require you to have some form of data. Additionally, the free phone with most new plans is a smart phone, and they can be found used for cheap online too. If that’s their only phone – often the case these days – then who cares what kind of phone it is?

    “You drive a new car, so you must not need help. Why don’t you sell it?” Maybe that’s actually Mom’s car. Maybe that’s a car purchased before they needed any help. Maybe they’re two days away from it being repo’d. You can’t buy a car and resell it for what you paid for it unless you’ve paid it down enough anyway, since once you drive it off the lot, there goes the value. And without a car – then what? I know in my area, public transportation is not at all reliable, and cabs aren’t a thing we have. We’re too rural and spread out to make walking or ride shares feasible too.

    “That’s a designer handbag, you don’t need any help if you an afford that.” Really? I have $10 here that says that’s a knock-off, and even if it’s not, WHO CARES? Maybe it was a gift. Maybe it was bought when money wasn’t tight. Maybe it’s the one thing that she carries to remind herself that she CAN get back on her feet. Maybe she doesn’t want employers she’s interviewing with to know she’s down on her luck. Best foot forward, after all.

    Sorry, this is kind of long-winded. It’s just a topic that’s pretty important to me too. Thanks for sharing this at Motivational Monday so I can see that there’s more good people out there.

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      OMGoodness Stephanie – THANK YOU!! You’ve demonstrated my point beautifully with your real-life experience. We’re not here to judge, we’re here to help. We’re here to love. We’re here to support. The examples you gave are the exact examples I’ve heard before (not from food pantry volunteers, that was a one time one volunteer circumstance) My smartphone was given to me for free by a distant family member who upgraded. Nice clothes or purses can be bought for a song at a thrift store. And your example about the car is spot on. We don’t know what’s going on in that person’s home, the familial circumstances they’re in, the struggles they’re bearing, the paths they’re trying to take to pull themselves out of their situation. And when it’s all said & done, it’s none of our BUSINESS what’s going on in that home. We need to just show love. And if everyone did that, wouldn’t this be a beautiful world?? ~TMR~

      Reply
  8. Lauren @blesserhouse

    You are so completely right. A lot of us are definitely still trying to bounce back from the downswing of the economy. I was a high school teacher for 5 years, and it was baffling that sometimes the “nicely dressed” students were living in poverty- usually because their parents had just lost their jobs or experienced an unexpected illness or they took the time to find nicer clothes at Goodwill. You never can tell. “Be kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Beautiful insight.

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Thank you for your kind words Amy. I’m not casting stones with this post, I’ve been guilty of seeing the person in front of me at the grocery store & questioning their purchases. Shame on me! We all need to be less judgmental and just show love. ~TMR~

      Reply
  9. Joanne T Ferguson

    G’day If only realistically the world was a better place and did not judge people!
    Thanks for sharing at our #SayGdayParty! Pinned!
    Please revisit (if you haven’t already); comments and shares always welcomed as well as visiting someone else at the party
    Cheers! Joanne What’s On The List?

    Reply
  10. Patricia

    I must have missed this post, saw it linked at Farmgirl Friday…
    very appropriate post, not just at this time of year but ALL YEAR, every day. In every way,
    ‘there but for the grace of God, go I’

    thanks for sharing it!

    Reply
  11. Heather @ My Overflowing Cup

    Thank you so much for writing this! We can relate to this so well. Thank you for lovingly putting into words something that needs to be said. I love the heart of this post, so I linked it here http://joleneunderwood.com/2014/12/blogitforward-december-2014.html – Thanks, again, for writing this one!

    Reply
  12. Dawn Jones

    I had to decide not to know where some of my donations go because some may go to someone undeserving. I also believe what goes around comes around, so if they get food bank food and do not need it, well…………..

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Dawn – I used to concern myself with whether or not certain people were ‘deserving’ as well. As I mentioned in this post, I discovered we often don’t know financial situations in someone’s home – I know several people barely scraping by & you’d never know it looking at them. There’s always the opportunity for abuse I guess but by not concerning myself with that slight minority I’ve been able to finally obtain a servant’s heart – something I’ve been working toward for years. Have a fantabulous Christmas! ~TMR~

      Reply
  13. Kristi

    Amen. Maybe it’s just me, but I have learned that whenever I think negatively of another person, I usually have the opportunity later to learn to eat my words–as I end up in a similar situation to the one I just judged. We all struggle with things. Our struggles may not all be the same, but we should all be able to relate to the idea that some things are hard. Whether financial, emotional, physical, spiritual, intellectual, etc., we all have challenges, and we should all be kind to each other.

    Reply
  14. Bible Babe

    Very true post. We see many men standing by the side of the road with “homeless” or “will work for food” signs. We don’t have a lot sometimes, maybe only a little change, but we give it to them. Someone said something about how they just use it for drinking, or that they have a nice truck hidden a street over. I tell them that what they do with the money is between God and them. Me giving to them is between God and ME. I have been one of those folks who has helped at AND needed a food pantry. Thank you for setting the record straight.

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I love it and have often said that what they do with the money is between them & God, I’m obeying God’s command to feed the hungry. There will always be a way to ‘skirt the system’, but by worrying about that tiny minority you do a disservice to the ones truly needing the help. There’s nothing like being on the other side for part of your life to really open your eyes! Bless you for sharing. ~TMR~

      Reply
  15. Dakota H

    This post is so true, perfect, and honest. We NEVER know how another persons household really looks. I know this because from the outside my own life seems to be bright and like my own family has plenty of money. This is the furthest from the truth! The truth is that we have paid off one vehicle, so why would we get rid of it to buy something that may not be as reliable, especially since my husband needs it to pull the trailer. I certainly could have chosen a less expensive car two years ago, but I didn’t, and now I wish I would have. It will be better for us to just try to get it paid off as soon as possible than sell it and get a cheaper car, my current car is great on gas mileage and very reliable. We don’t qualify for any assistance because we “make too much money” but 70% of that money goes to pay towards debt that we incurred a couple years ago, right when we got married, and had nobody pointing us in the right direction. We were caught up in the “low interest rates” and “bigger is better” a couple years ago and there is nothing we can do now except pay on the debt and watch our budget as close as possible!

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Thank you for sharing your story Dakota. I think it’s prevalent that appearances very seldom reflect true financial situations. Very seldom. We’re well-served to look past that (since obviously it’s none of our business anyway) and just show love. Keep plugging at it – I know you’ll be debt free with the hard work you’re putting toward it! ~TMR~

      Reply
  16. Lisa Lynn

    Words to live by all year round! Thanks for sharing your wisdom on The Thankful HomeAcre Hop, Tammy! I hope you’ll stop by again today. 🙂

    I Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!
    Lisa

    Reply
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  18. Patricia

    This is do true. We need to consider this all year not just this holiday season. Funny , how we think we know so much… But really, we haven’t walked in the other peoples shoes. Love this reminder- Pat

    Reply
  19. Cynthia L.

    Thanks so much for sharing this post at the In and Out of the Kitchen Link party. This is a wonderful time of the year to remember to be thankful and to also remind ourselves that we don’t always know what others are dealing with in their lives.

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Cynthia, I dare say we very seldom (if ever) really know what goes on in other households. And it’s really not our place to judge anyway, although human nature often leans that way naturally. But like you said – it’s a wonderful time of year to remind ourselves to just show love. Thank you for your comment. 🙂 ~TMR~

      Reply
  20. Stacey

    You are so right. I remember many years ago seeing someone park in the Handicap parking space and walk easily into the store. It made me mad but as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that we just don’t know what people are going through. We don’t know why that person picks up food at the food pantry and I don’t know why that woman parked in the Handicap space. Problems are not visible most of the time. I feel certain that most people wouldn’t take advantage of a food pantry unless they really needed to.

    By the way, I’ve landed on your blog before and need to bookmark it. I live in Rockwall…the Wolfe City sign caught my attention. 🙂

    Reply

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