You Have One Job
Today I am struggling with feelings of judgement toward a few folks. The irony of this is that I just preached on not judging people yesterday. God has a twisted sense of humor, I'm thinking.
I've been on the other end of "judge-y" Christians more times than I can count, so I know what it feels like.
Once, I found out that one of the other pastors in town actually issued a warning to members of his church to stay away from my church and its members. He felt that we would be a bad influence, and didn't want us poisoning his church.
Some years ago, I ran afoul of a widely-read online Christian news website, and ended up getting hateful emails from people who called me a "false prophet" and an "apostate teacher," and a few more colorful things that don't bear repeating.
And yet, knowing all that I know, I still find myself feeling pretty judgmental today toward some people who self-identify as fellow-followers of Jesus. Sisters and brothers of mine, to be more exact.
Jesus spoke a great deal on the subject of judging others, mostly because in the first century context within which he was ministering, the religious people of his day spent a lot of time judging other people, and not fairly applying the same measure of judgement upon themselves.
I am so glad that we've moved beyond those primitive ways of thinking, aren't you? That was sarcasm. Because we haven't.
Jesus said, “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)
As I sit here now fighting back my judgmental feelings, I am reminded of something I read recently from the late E. Stanley Jones. He wrote:
"The business of Christians, then, is simple. They are not to go around judging people, pointing out flaws here and picking specks there."
Jones went on to say that what we're called to do as followers of Jesus is to merely, "Live and preach redemption and leave judgment up to God."
It's easier said than done, I know, but this is our calling. It's not up to us to judge people. Our job is to simply share our story, tell of the way God's grace through Jesus has changed our lives, and bear witness to how that story continues to shape us.
May you strive to leave judgement up to God. May you leave behind condemnation in order to escape it from others. May you forgive so you will be forgiven by others. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.