Diagnosing at the Mall

While his wife shopped at the mall, an endocrinologist sat in a coffee shop gazing at the passersby. He "diagnosed" shoppers with an intelligent guess. No history. No physical exam. No laboratory tests. Just a moment's gaze at a limp or a distinguishing physical feature prompted his conclusion - a silly but entertaining activity for a bored physician. He later wrote of his musings in a delightful medical journal article, "Diagnosing at the Mall".

As a physician, I must confess to engaging in such silly activities myself. However, as a follower of Jesus, I occasionally find myself participating in a similar but much more dangerous activity - spiritually diagnosing (judging) others. I observe thin slices of another person's life and make a quick diagnosis.

  • Sinful
  • Ignorant
  • Stupid
  • Arrogant
  • Lazy

Labeling and lumping individuals and groups of people based upon my negative judgments is not only silly, but frightfully sad and certainly dangerous for a follower of Jesus. For the Bible says there are serious consequences.

Discernment is important but Pharisaical judgment has no excuses. A physician who walked with Jesus, the apostle Luke, warns us about such activity by quoting Him,

"Do not judge and you will not be judged. Do not condemn and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. . . .For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." (Luke 6:37-38 NIV)

The only One who had the authority to judge people in spiritual need gently showed us a better way. Let's follow Jesus.

Sharing the journey with you, Bob Snyder