The presenter called our attention to Matthew 7:1-5. She pointed out how it is so easy for us to judge each other. She said we have to be careful because passing judgement that is not in love is not God's way. Let's be clear, there is correction in the Bible but when we correct others, it should be done in love--meaning to help or better people not trying to get them to conform to our expectations. We all fall short-- in different ways for sure (and if you haven't fallen short yet, please keep on living), but we all fall short nonetheless. So who are we to judge? The presenter told us many stories of judgement taking place in the church house. I myself have felt judged trying to navigate the "church world" with a toddler. Did toddlers just magically behave in church back in the day? People are always looking around or making comments about myself or others as if churches always had cry rooms (that I loathe sitting in by the way)...but I digress.
Additionally, the speaker challenged us that if we do pass judgement in a way that is not in love that we should apologize and fix it early. If a sister (or brother) comes to us wounded, we should help them not pass judgement. We don't know what led that teenager getting pregnant, we don't know why that man or woman may have been in jail, we don't know why that child is running around church instead of sitting with their mother, we don't know why someone may come to church wearing something that we think isn't appropriate, the list goes on. So before we judge anyone, I challenge you all and myself to push the pause button. It should bother us if we hear judgement that is not coming from a place of love. We may have been blessed to never have to go down certain roads but maybe we are catching someone else on the road to their blessing and victory. Who are we to judge?
Let's take this even outside of the church for a minute. Personality theorist suggest that we categorize things in ways that help us. The way we categorize people and things is based on our experiences and environments. These categories guide how we interpret things and the expectations we have about them. Sometimes though, in forming these categories we veer left and create stereotypes. Don't even get me started on stereotypes. Who wants to reinforce a stereotype? Not I.
In closing, let me highlight Matthew 7:2-3 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with that measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?
I'll leave you with this final thought from this session: people we wound through our judgement are people that Christ has died for. Who are we to judge? I do not want to meet Jesus and the first thing he asks me is do your remember my child ____ and how you treated them because you thought ____? I'm not trying to have that conversation with Jesus. Nope. Not at all.
Look around this week and show a sister or brother that you are or were critical of some love. Maybe they are fine the way they are even if you don't like it or maybe they simply need some encouragement and support instead of condemnation. I am not pushing us to be optimists without causes. We cannot invite everyone into our inner sanctums but we can release our judgmental tendencies. I may not be able to be friends with that brother or sister but I can love them with the love of Christ. I can speak and be polite even if they are judging me themselves. I have to answer to Jesus for my own actions not theirs.
Don't judge; love and see how that enriches your own life.
Be lifted my friends.