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Don't Judge a Book by its Cover

Alex Blog

In the past couple of years, we have had many people come and go from our church and in the old hostel. Everyone from young adults up to older people have all lived there. I will be honest and say that I judged some of the residents at the hostel, especially the older men with tattoos; the type of men who I thought I better not get on the wrong side of or I would get punched; guys who have been in and out of jail most of their lives. I chose to judge them without even saying ‘hello’.

In the Bible, Matthew 7:1-2 says, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with measure you use, it will be measured to you.” It even says in the Bible not to judge others otherwise we will be judged.

So why do we do this? We judge before we have even said a single word them. For some of us, we have insecurities; we want to look like those models in the magazines or on TV, etc. Without knowing their everyday struggles, some of us like to say that these types of people only care about themselves and how they look. We say these things to make us feel better about ourselves.

We mainly judge when we don’t know a person or have just met somebody. Like when we get a new classmate or workmate, we start figuring out who they are, which is exactly what I did with the residents at the hostel. I chose judge them because of how they looked.

It wasn’t until one of my friends moved in there that I actually started making conversation with them. It was always small talk, but slowly I was willing to open up to the residents. Sitting down and chatting with one of the guys with tattoos, he started talking to me about his children and how he wants a better life for himself and for his children. He really wants to get everything in his life sorted so he can be with his kids again. At that point, I realized how much of a soft heart he actually had and what he was saying to me and, well, I thought it was really sweet.

Since that conversation, he has done nothing but encourage me in everything I do. He tells me to hug myself every day and also look in the mirror every day and tell myself that I love myself. I now know that I will always get a positive response when I talk to him. Thinking back now, I wonder why I was actually afraid of him. The tattoos, the clothes, the way he talked, I judged him.

If I hadn’t taken the time to sit and chat with him, I would still be afraid of him. Next time you meet someone for the first time, try not to judge them, instead look beyond their appearance. Ask them questions, and find out something amazing about that person. Just remember you will never know a person until you start asking questions.

The Season for Flying Kites

Mariana Blog

It’s the season for flying kites! At least, when I was a child it was—with September’s sunny days and gusty winds. But when I think about it, I hardly ever see kids flying kites anymore.

One time, though, my brother arrived home with a kite for his son, Carl. Carl and his many cousins were all excited because they knew it was a game they could play together.

The kite sometimes flew high and sometimes low. If the wind died down, the kite just dropped down on the ground. My nieces and nephews picked it up, made sure that it was still in good condition, and flew it again. One or two of them held the rope and the rest shouted and cheered encouragingly. Together, they ran towards where the kite would fly.

As I watched the chaotic, joyful scene, I thought, ‘The kite must be happy flying with ease and free in the sky’.

But after a while, I heard my nieces and nephews shouting, ‘Oh no! Oh no!’ The rope that connected the kite to the kids below had snapped off. The kite was out of control—it flew further away and finally crashed. It took a while for us to search for and locate the kite. In the end we found it, a little bit broken but nothing that couldn’t be fixed.

I imagine us being the kite. We all want our freedom and are proud of our self-reliance. But just like the kite, unless we keep our connection with families, friends or people, we will fly to nowhere and without a purpose.

In contrast, imagine being like a kite that is still connected to people on the ground—with a strong rope that binds us together. When the wind is down, and bringing us down as well, there will be people to support and encourage us. And if the wind brings us high up in the sky, our friends and family will shout and cheer for us. If the wind is too strong and brings us out of control, rest assured there will be people that help keep us grounded. And wherever we fly, there are people running with us.

There are a few challenges that prevent me from keeping in touch with family and friends overseas: time, weather and health have been the biggest culprits. Social media has a bad reputation for ‘disconnecting’ people, but it can also be a platform for us to connect to others: a friend messaged me through Facebook and asked me how I was doing before asking me to catch up; an announcement on a Facebook page encouraged me to join in with church activities. These connections create a sense of belonging within me.

I’m glad that my nieces and nephews found their kite when it snapped and got disconnected from them. In life, so many kites just fly to nowhere, never to be found again. When we are bound together, that is when we can truly fly free.