I learned a lesson this past week about judging people. My son’s Status Hearing was last Monday. His court appointed attorney had told me that I didn’t need to be there because he wouldn’t even enter a plea. I didn’t sleep well the night before even though I knew, in the grand scheme of things, this hearing was relatively small, I decided to go anyway. I’m so glad I went because I think it made a difference in the outcome of the hearing. I prayed all the way to the courthouse, that God’s will would be done, and that He would be in the courtroom with us.
Just before my son's hearing a woman came over and asked me why I was there. I told her I was waiting for my son’s status hearing. She was very kind and we talked for some time about addiction, and how it takes over good people’s lives. I told her about how I think addiction is pure evil, and how it targets good, young people who are not yet fully mature, and takes over their lives. She listened, and validated what I was saying, and I sensed a kindness about her. She showed compassion.
When it was almost time for the judge to appear, I introduced myself, and she did too. Much to my surprise, she told me she works in the prosecuting attorney’s office. She was actually much kinder and spent more time with me than my son’s court appointed attorney, who was rather gruff and seemed irritated that I was even there.
As it turned out, the lady I had been talking to recommended my son for inpatient rehab at a facility about 4 hours away from here. Rehab won’t take the place of a prison sentence for my son, but it should at least give him some of the tools he’ll need to stay clean. She even reduced his bond by 50%, which I don’t think she would have done had we not met before the hearing. When the hearing was over she told my son how lucky he was to have a family who cares about him, and how important it was for him to take this opportunity at rehab seriously, and to use it to get clean and stay clean. She sincerely seemed to care about what happened to him. However, she also warned him that there would be no second chances, and that if he blows it, he will be back in jail with no possibility for bail. He needed to hear that.
I am humbled by the lesson I learned about judging people. I've been so concerned about other people judging my son, and yet I was the one doing the judging. I had expected the prosecuting attorney to be merciless and unkind. As it turned out, she was the opposite. My son’s attorney explained to me that the woman I had met was not the “official” prosecuting attorney. Apparently, she is one of his assistant attorneys, and we probably won't deal with her at my son’s next hearing. But that’s ok. Just for that moment in time, she was kind, and she made me feel like she cared, and that my son and I mattered to her. The person I had least expected to be kind turned out to be the most compassionate person I met that day. Had I known who she was before we talked, I wouldn’t have been so open because I would have thought she was the “enemy.” Judge not, lest ye be judged.