There are times when we need to be reminded of the finer points of humanity and humility when it comes to judging another person. There are times judgments are necessary, but we cannot forget that the person who judges is not above criticism for their own behavior or actions. Therefore, we need to be sensitive to not judge a person too harshly, because we may not be aware of what caused that person to stumble.

I found this poem “Judge Gently” in May 2008 and it is something that I reread from time-to-time as a reminder about what it means to be human. I also found the message in the fifth stanza to be very important, because we can judge someone too quick without taking in account that we also have acted or behaved inappropriately.

Judge Gently
Unknown Author

Pray, don’t find fault with the man that limps
Or stumbles along the road.
Unless you have worn the shoes he wears
Or struggled beneath his load.

There may be tacks in his shoes that hurt
Though hidden away from view.
Or the burden he bears placed on your back
Might cause you to stumble too.

Don’t sneer at the man who’s down today
Unless you have felt the blow
That caused his fall or felt the shame
That only the fallen know.

You may be strong but still the blows
That was his if dealt to you
In the selfsame way, at the selfsame time
Might cause you to stagger too.

Don’t be too harsh with the man that sins
Or pelt him with word or stone
Unless you are sure – yea, doubly sure –
That you have no sins of your own.

For you know, perhaps,
If the tempter’s voice should whisper as soft to you
As it did to him when he went astray
It might cause you to falter too.