Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. (Luke 6:37)

A NEW STUDENT entered my classroom in the suburban high school where I taught English. I led her to an empty desk and settled her while the other students studied her. She was not dressed in their manner and spoke with a heavy accent. From the way her eyes darted around the room, I sensed her fear of not fitting in. When the lunch bell rang, however, Hayley, who was one of the most fashionable girls in the room, quickly approached the new student and invited her to join her and several friends. The new girl hesitated for a moment, but at Hayley’s insistence she agreed. After lunch, they returned to the classroom laughing and talking like old friends.

Jesus told us not to judge others. Clothes, house, car, or employment does not determine a person’s worth. He warned us that if we see the value of others only by what they possess or by other tangible measures, then they will consider us in the same way. Knowing we might do that, He also told us to forgive others if they judge us, and we will be forgiven.

The new girl quickly fit into the classroom society because one person took the first step in welcoming and accepting her. Hayley was like Jesus in our classroom.

Be the first to welcome someone who visits your church or other groups.

Alice Thomas is an adjunct professor of English at Lone Star Montgomery College in Conroe, Texas. She loves to garden and read.