How hard it is to avoid passing judgment! Patricia, one of our readers, wisely pointed out in a comment on yesterday’s Catch that when I suggested that the preacher railing against pornography has probably got a pornography problem, I was giving you permission to judge all preachers who get mad at some sin as being guilty of the same. While that could be the case, it isn’t necessarily always the case and certainly no cause to pass judgment. Isn’t that what we are trying to avoid here? In the process of trying to get you to avoid judging, I was giving you cause to judge more, and I didn’t even notice that until I read her comment.
Judging is subtle. It’s sinister. It’s so easy to do and so hard to spot. And it’s so much fun for all the wrong reasons. Judging makes you feel superior. It’s a way of lifting yourself up by putting everyone else down.
I do know this: that judging someone else is the primary means by which we avoid facing into our own sin. Sitting in judgment of someone else’s sin pushes our own sin into the background. Not the best way to feel good about yourself. Here’s a better way: embrace your sin continually, confess your sin continually, receive God’s forgiveness and grace and turn that grace outward to everyone, regardless. This is easy to do because you truly believe everyone is better than you. So there’s no judgment, only grace.
We have a busybody in our neighborhood who is a stay-at-home mom and keeps a watchful eye on the street. She also has an opinion on everyone and we’ve heard that hers of us is not too flattering. I think she believes Chandler is a drug dealer and we are the worst parents ever to come down the pike.
Now let’s check out that last paragraph and see how I’m doing. Not too good. I judged her as being a “busybody” and I made assumptions about her opinions. Whatever she’s sending my way, I’m not doing very well with what I’m sending back. And if I were to pick up a morsel of dirt on her, unless I’m seeing my own sin, I would use it to put her down and make me feel better.
Somehow I don’t think Jesus would be too pleased with this attitude. At the very least I don’t think it would be an attitude He shares. Jesus would know why she is the way she is and have compassion for her. He would want me to do the same.
Now this woman has a husband who is the nicest guy you could ever want to meet. He’s friendly, outgoing and just seems to like everyone. And I’m not sure about this, but I have a feeling this niceness isn’t a cover-up while underneath he’s harboring all sorts of bad feelings towards people. I think he’s just genuinely a good person who accepts people as they are and doesn’t judge them.
I’m not sure what makes him different, but I want to be like him. A person full of grace would be like this.