Judgmental Christians & The Way of Jesus
I've had more than a few conversations in the past several years with people who have given up on church. The common thread in all of those conversations was the role that the judgmental attitudes of Christians played in their decisions to walk away.
One of my friends who left church told me, "I just got so tired of having to pretend to be someone I wasn't."
Sadly, far too many churches are not the kind of place you go when you need to bare your soul, share your scars, express your doubts, or (as in the case of my friend) simply be yourself.
Over the course of my life in the church, I've heard so many stories from so many people who were wounded by the judgment of Christians who condemned them. I've been on the receiving end of that kind of judgment, and it's not pleasant.
You would like to think that your church family would be the one place where you would receive grace and unconditional love. But, unfortunately, churches are made up of people, and people are frail and flawed.
In the first chapter of his letter to the Romans, Paul spends a lot of time and energy listing all kinds of sins, shortcomings, and other assorted things that people do to grieve the Spirit of God.
But if you keep reading, you'll eventually hit chapter 2 verse 1, which pivots from Paul's lists--lists which have been misused by far too many Christians. Paul writes:
"You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you are judging another, you are condemning yourself."
That verse lands on me pretty hard. It's so easy and tempting to pass judgment, isn't it? We all struggle with self-righteousness to one degree or another.
But, if you want to be a follower of Jesus, though, you have to walk in His Way.
The Way of Jesus is paved with grace. The Way of Jesus is covered in mercy. The Way of Jesus is marked by Jesus himself who proclaimed, "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved."
May you speak grace and peace to everyone you meet today--especially those who are wounded, broken, vulnerable and seeking mercy. May you see your own frailty in the frailty of others and practice forbearance and forgiveness. May you leave all judgment to Christ, who did not come to condemn, but to save.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.