“Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! No, rather, a sword. I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—36 a man’s worst enemies will be right in his own home!” – Jesus
I have noticed an interesting phenomenon as a Christian in today’s culture, and I wonder if perhaps a few of you can relate? The other day I was having a disagreement with someone, and when I commented on the irony with which they were communicating, the response was, “Don’t judge me!” I was instantly perplexed, and to be honest chuckled a bit (inside!), as I was once again confronted by this funny little word, judgment.
Now, to enter into the depths of what Jesus meant when he said not to judge, I invite you to do a little further reading here – it is a pretty straightforward explanation of a scripture that is overused and often misquoted. Since it has already been so eloquently explained, I thought I would just share a few common sense points of reference as to what I am talking about. Unfortunately, I have extensive experience with having to stop, process, and discern if what I really said was judgment or not…(insert grin).
*If I believe that abortion is wrong, it does not make me judgmental, it means I have a position on the morality of it. Now, if I were to find my friends who have actually had abortions, to be lesser humans than myself, or unworthy of love or of my relationship, THAT would be judgmental.
*Let’s say you are dialoging with me in a way that I find inappropriate, manipulative or abusive and I say, “Hey, I really don’t like the way you are talking to me right now,” I would not be judging you. Rather, I would be establishing a clear boundary as to how I feel comfortable communicating.
*Perhaps we disagree on how we like to spend a Saturday night. You want to go to the bar, and I really don’t enjoy being around large crowds of people, especially when many of them are intoxicated. My choice doesn’t make me anymore judgmental than you are for not feeling comfortable coming to my church on a Sunday morning. That, my friends, is called a matter of personal preference.
I find it interesting that in many circles it is entirely appropriate, even encouraged, for people to have strong opinions. That is, unless you are a Christian. While I am not entirely certain as to how other people justify it, there is certainly a challenge at times in being wholly authentic around those who may not share a similar faith for fear of offending someone. The older I get the more baffled I am by the hypocrisy of those outside of the church, operating quite neatly under the guise of being “free thinking”, while those who choose to operate through the filter designated by the God they serve, are seen as judgmental.
My favorite dichotomy is that when I choose to live life in a manner that follows along with my belief system; I am deemed judgmental, and yet when I make a mistake, or temper by beliefs, I am deemed a hypocrite.
I wonder what it would be like if we all allowed one another to operate in the fullness of who they feel they are designed and called to be – if differences weren’t seen as divisions, and authenticity was celebrated. I can tell you with all honestly that it simply is not the current reality for many of us who choose a life following Christ.
And yet, I wouldn’t have it any other way…