I don’t appreciate judgmental people. Especially if they’re self-righteously judging. We had a guest speaker last week at church and he talked about judging the situation and not being judgmental. Sounds like semantics, but it makes perfect sense. Along the same lines as hate the sin, love the sinner.
Here’s a very extreme example of what makes me want to cry. You may or may not remember Matthew Shepard, a homosexual boy who was heinously murdered because of his sexual orientation. While that’s horrible, that’s not where I’m going. Murder is horrible no matter what the situation and whether it’s labeled a hate crime or not. What was truly awful was the crowd across the street from his funeral. A group of so-called Christians held up signs which said things like “Matthew Shepard Is In Hell” and “God Hates Faggots”. I can hardly bring myself to type those words. I know God was weeping that day. (Please friends. Whether homosexuality is right or wrong is not up for debate here. It has nothing to do with my point so please don’t go into it in the comments. Thank you.)
therapist friend, Cristie, and I talked about being judgmental at last week’s session Starbuck’s get together. I lamented mentioned the fact that when I first had that new Christian zeal I was very judgmental. Everything was black and white and you were either with us or against us. As I’ve grown closer to God I’ve realized it’s not that simple.
Just because I’m a Christian and I live by a certain set of standards does not mean everyone else does. And just because I’m a Christian does not mean I always, every minute of every day, live by those standards I hold so dear.
Paul used the example of the adulterous woman who was going to be stoned until Jesus said let those without sin throw the first stone. Everyone walked away. But the truly nonjudgmental Jesus did not judge her. She knew what she was doing was wrong. All he said was to go and sin no more. No speech on the evils of adultery. No hellfire or brimstone sermon. Just go on your way, but stop doing this stuff.
So Cristie and I are talking about this stuff and I’m all, “I used to be pretty judgmental”, when it hit me. I’m still freakin’ self righteous and judgmental! Oh, I have plenty of compassion for people who are doing things they ought not to be doing. But I judge the people who are judging them! Just like the people who were holding up those signs at Matthew Shepard’s funeral! I don’t believe anyone can argue that what they were doing was right. I’m not saying that at all. Obviously, they’re misinformed. Sadly, they hurt so many people that day. Even more sadly, they really hurt Christianity that day.
What it comes down to is this. We are ALL God’s children. He loves all of us, regardless of what we do. The concept that no sin is greater than any other sin is so hard to grasp. Which is why He’s God and we’re not. But that concept puts it all in perspective. I am no better than this person or that person, so what gives me the right to be judgmental? I don’t want them judging me for the sin in my life. And folks, there’s plenty.
Several years ago when Todd and I were in a Bible Study group with other couples I brought up something Madonna had done with a contemptuous sneer. A very good friend of mine said she felt sorry for Madonna because she just didn’t get it. How simple is that? She wasn’t saying what Madonna was doing was okay or acceptable. But she had compassion for her because she didn’t know any better.
So I’m going to try not to be judgmental of the people who are being judgmental. Because I’ve been there. It’s all a learning process. The most godly disciple in the world is still learning how to be like Jesus. So I give myself permission to accept that I don’t have all the answers, but I’m learning. Just like everyone else.