Judging, Not.

Did you ever meet someone and know immediately that you were kindred spirits? That he or she would become part of your fellowship of the ring? That’s how I felt the first time I encountered Maggie Wallem Rowe. It’s my pleasure to introduce you to her and to her knew devotional – This Life We Share. You can thank me later! 😉

Here is an excerpt titled, Judge, Not.


“Don’t be nitpickers; use your head—and heart!—to discern what is right, to test what is authentically right.” John 7:24 MSG


For a woman not athletically inclined whatsoever, I sure can jump to conclusions.

Throughout my late twenties and well into my thirties, I taught communications classes at a small university in New England.  Finances were tight in our ministry household, so whenever I had the opportunity to pick up extra night classes I did.  While my daytime students were all younger than I was, those continuing their education in the evenings were significantly older than I was. It was easy to be intimidated by their age and experience.

A student I’ll call Deborah was a challenge from the start.  She sat in the same seat in the back each class session, refusing to engage in discussion while listening to me lecture with a perpetual scowl on her face. Hand propped on fist, she stared me down week after week until I was so unnerved I began to dread her presence.

She hates me, I thought.  She thinks I’m too young and unqualified to be teaching experienced professionals. She’ll give me a terrible evaluation and that will be the end of my tenure in adult education.

After several weeks of our silent confrontations, I asked Deborah to remain after class one evening and  shared my concerns.  Had I said or done anything that offended her?

Deborah was astonished. “Professor Rowe,” she blurted out, “I actually look forward to this class. I have an awful work situation and pressures at home. This classroom is a refuge for me. I had no idea I was making you uncomfortable!”

I had made the situation about me, yet it was my student who was struggling. How much I had to learn!

Who else have I been mistaken about lately? The slouchy young man in the hoodie with the tats? The goth teen with shocking pink hair? That older woman at church whose grumpy expression hides a kind heart?

Jesus couldn’t have been more clear when he rebuked a crowd who accused him of being demon-possessed.  “Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly.” (John 7:24, NLT)

Does this mean we’re never supposed to judge others?

Sometimes obeying God necessitates making a judgment, as when Paul warns the church about sexual immorality and the need for careful discernment within the body of believers (I Corinthians 5). Scripture also instructs us to discipline others when a believer caught in sin needs restoration (Galatians 6:1). Correcting others requires a careful look within in order to render a proper judgment without.

Judging other people’s motives or intentions based on our own faulty filters is a wrong-headed way to view the world.

It’s wretched being wrong until you get things right.

Taken from This Life We Share by Maggie Wallem Rowe. Copyright © 2020. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.


Buy Link: https://www.navpress.com/p/this-life-we-share/9781641580076

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    The Conversation

  1. Debbie Wilson says:

    Maggie’s experience reminded me of a couple of my own. I remember one woman who glared at me the whole time I was teaching a class. I wondered what I’d done to offend her. Months later see saw me at an event and approached me to say how the Holy Spirit had used my talk to convict her of a habit she needed to shed. She was radiant. I was surprised and pleased. I had not even mentioned the particular issue in my talk the Holy Spirit had been addressing with her. It is so easy to jump to the wrong conclusion.

  2. Muffie Houser says:

    Hi Lori, I had the pleasure of meeting Maggie several years ago when she spoke at women’s retreats at Monadnock Bible Conference. She’s a lovely sister in the Lord. I will be getting her book. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.
    God bless, Muffie Houser

    • Maggie Rowe says:

      Muffie, so nice to hear from you! I am scheduled to serve at Monadnock again this fall, COVID permitting and Lord wiling! Hope to see you then a get a hug.

  3. Maggie Rowe says:

    Thanks for featuring my new “baby” on your wonderful site, Lori! I appreciate you and your readers so much. You tackle not only hard conversations but tough stuff in general, and I deeply admire that.