Matthew 7:1 - "Do not judge, or you too will be judged.
A couple of days ago I got a phone call from a member of my congregation. She called to tell me her brother was in jail because he was driving without a drivers license and he would be deported to Mexico the following week. She asked if I would be willing to go and see him and give him a letter from her.
Within the next hour I went to the Roswell Detention Center and in the entrance I discovered they have a new policy about clergy visiting the inmates. Now clergy needs authorization from the chaplain of city hall to enter the jail and visit inmates. After several attempts to convince the guard to let me in due to the urgency of my request he refused and sent me to the chaplain's church.
I drove to the church and as I entered the huge church I saw in front of the offices the reserved parking spot for the Senior Pastor, Dr.... with a $70,000 car parked in the space. I walked into the office to the secretary and requested to speak to the pastor. She sent me to wait for him inside his office. (Note: His office was the size of the entire fellowship hall of my church with a humongous fish tank and really expensive furniture.) As I was waiting for him I sadly was judging this pastor and his life of apparent luxury.
The pastor walked into his office and listened to my situation and dilemma and I was amused by his response. He told me that the process of authorization is long and could not get done that day; suddenly he picked up his phone and called his secretary. He told her to cancel all his appointments for the day because he was going to the jail with me. He rode with me in my car and took me inside the jail with him and he sat next to me for almost 2 hours as I spoke in Spanish (which he didn’t understand) with the inmate.
I felt embarrassed about my judgement and I apologized to God and to him. I was encouraged that there are still people, in the midst of their successful lives, who can put their lives on hold and go to serve the lost, the last and the least.
Dear God, thank you for loving me in the midst of my mistakes, and thank you for shaping me little by little.