A friend of mine put this as her status on Facebook. I usually just skim over the statuses as some of them, mine included, are really just drivel that no one is interested in. For example mine this morning…
Coffee, lots of Coffee, why couldn’t I sleep well last night? Oh yeah, my mattress needs to be turned and it’s really uncomfortable.
Really, no one is interested, but we post things like this because we’ve become so disconnected from actual community that we are willing to accept any semblance of connection with others. But I digress, that’s not my point today.
My point is that this post stopped me in my tracks yesterday.
This quote stayed will me all night.
These words haunted my mind.
We all do it, we all judge in different ways. From little judgements about what people wear out in public, “Oh dear, doesn’t she own a mirror at home”. To big ones, “Wow, who do they think they are, they need to stop X,Y, and Z before they even THINK about sitting in a pew next to me on Sunday.”
Judgement. We all do it. And to a certain extent it is necessary. I’m using good judgement when I refuse to get into a car with someone who has been drinking, I’m using better judgement when I prevent them from driving all together. I use judgement all the time raising my son, I have too, I need to teach him to make good choices. So when does it cross the line from good judgement to bad?
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.
For in the same way you fudge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of you eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
And in Mark 12:29-31
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘ Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is not commandment greater than these.”
Love is the key. To turn Mother Teresa’s quote around, If we are busy loving people, we won’t have time to judge them. Christ himself called us to love others as God loves us. To forgive others as God forgives us.
It’s not our job to straighten out our neighbor, Christ didn’t say, Love God and convince your neighbor to do the same. He said Love God, and LOVE your neighbor. He also said to love your enemies not just those who agree with you. Not just those who are living as you think they should, but EVERYONE.
That includes the homeless man you pass on your way to work.
That includes the young mother who is smoking in her car with her baby in the back seat.
That includes the homosexual couple who moved in down the street.
That includes that cranky coworker who never has anything nice to say and doesn’t really pull their weight.
What would loving these difficult-to-love people who God has put in our path look like?
It’s much easier to tell you what it wouldn’t look like.
It wouldn’t be ignoring them.
It wouldn’t be preaching morality to them.
It wouldn’t be avoiding them, hoping someone else will talk to them and get them to act right.
It may be getting the homeless man some coffee on a cold day.
Befriending the young mother and helping to reduce the stress she is under.
Inviting that new couple into your home and becoming their friend.
Listening, truly listening to that coworker, and praying for them, they are hurting.
Loving the unlovable, befriending the friendless, helping the hurting.
While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the “sinners” and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and ‘Sinners’?”
On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”