In our sensationalist, foul, social media-driven culture, you can do 999 out of a 1,000 things well, but you will be judged, identified, and labelled by the one stupid thing you might say or do! This happens in church-world all the time! Who among us would like our tombstone epitaph to be based on the judgment of the stupidest thing we ever said or did in our lives? Not me. Besides, there would be too much competition for top billing on my tombstone.
Let’s be long suffering one with another, withhold our sweeping judgments (condemnations, not discernment or evaluation/judgment), and view our interactions with one another from the totality of a life’s work, not the lowest moment, or most-ill advised thing any of us have ever said or done. My behavior at the moment may not be at all representative of who I really am. Everyone is entitled to a bad moment, bad day, and a stupid flapping of the lips or typing of the keys!
Judgment Can be a Risky Business
Our judgment must be withheld until we really know someone, rather than forming an opinion or judgment from 140 characters in a Twitter post, or an out of context quote on Facebook from the stupidest thing I may have ever said or done. There is no short-cut to real relationship. Accurate judgments can only be made from within intimate relationships. There is no substitute for a community in love with one another.
I recently heard of a very well known minister who opened his teaching session with the following: “One third of what I am about to teach is wrong. The problem is, I don’t know which third.” This encapsulates for me the attitude we need to have toward ourselves and one another.
Let’s not rush to sweeping condemning judgement of persons. I am not sure I believe a lot of things I taught five, ten, fifteen years ago. I would not want to listen to my own stuff from ten years ago. I would not want to meet the me I was 20 years ago! Truly, the grace of God is eternal, alive, and functioning. How He can get anything redemptive out of any of us, is a constant amazement to me.
Hopefully we all grow in character and understanding. Someone’s teachings, doctrines, and life-fruit should most certainly be evaluated/judged. But we can forgo condemnation of personhood from a small slice of the pie of life. What I may see at the moment, may not reflect what I might see in the future. I would like to give others the same benefit of the doubt that I would like myself. That should sound familiar to any of us: Treat others how you would like to be treated. That does not mean we never say hard, direct, or confrontational things. Jesus clearly did.
Let’s operate with one another in judgment as if we are actually citizens of a different kingdom and King, like we claim to be.
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