Saturday, September 25, 2010


I was talking to a couple of the center supervisors at work the other day. Both are lesbians (which I only mention because it explains her comment). One of them mentioned that a religious couple just bought the house next door to hers. Apparently their van had the name of a church or religious group and she was saying how much it's going to suck having that kind of people for neighbors. I really didn't think much of the statement at the time because I could see why she'd think that and then we quickly moved on to a work-related topic that took my complete focus.

Two or three days later, this same lady approached me and said she needed to apologize for something. I couldn't for the life of me think of anything she had to apologize for, but then she explained it was about what she said when we were talking the other day. Still, no clue. She smiled and said, "When I was talking about my new neighbors, I judged them before meeting them. I don't know anything about them except that they are religious and I had no place to pass judgment. They might be wonderful people."

I told her I hadn't given it a second thought but that I understood the spur of the moment judgments. We often make them because of experiences we've had with people with similar belief systems. I told her that I grew up in pentecostal and non-denominational churches and that I am a Christian and love God, but that I, too, have a hard time with other religious people because I automatically expect them to judge me and that I've even lost Christian "friends" because I enjoy wine. She then explained that she grew up Catholic and was very active in her church through high school and knows that just because someone is religious or believes in God, doesn't mean that they are intolerant, judgmental, holier-than-thou assholes. She genuinely felt bad for her knee-jerk reaction to the new neighbors.

This conversation got me thinking. First, I felt respect for this woman. I don't know many people who would have gone back and apologized for their unfounded judgments. Second, I felt ashamed of myself. How many times I have made similar discriminations? Countless!

We "Christians" are often the worst of the bunch when it comes to judging others. We are taught right and wrong, sin and righteousness, but there are certain sins or lifestyles that seem to be weighted differently than others. We are taught to love and pray for others, but we often lose sight of that and instead, we point fingers and look down our noses at people who struggle with certain sins. We publicly lash out at murderers, rapists, thieves. molestors, alcoholics, drug addicts, prostitutes, homosexuals and democrats. But the church is full of gluttons, liars, cheaters, sloths, covetous people, porn addicts, idol worshipers, domestic abusers and republicans. God didn't list every sin with a rating telling us which is worse. A sin is a sin. Plain and simple. Sin separates us from God. Whether it's lying or murdering, cheating on a spouse or telling a "little white lie" in an interview. We love on those people who are struggling with their food addictions, but we lambaste those who do whatever necessary to feed their meth addiction. We cover up the sexual abuse and addictions in the church while we rebuke homosexuals for their "sexual perversion" when they aren't hurting anyone else with their lifestyle choice.

As much as I pride myself on not judging others, I do. I think it is human nature. We all make assumptions based on outward appearances. Fat. Skinny. Gay. Straight. Rich. Poor. Old. Young. Attractive. Ugly. Color. Ethnicity. Deformed. Disabled. Homeless. Religious. Pierced. Tattooed. Hair style. Facial expression. We form opinions about many people before they've opened their mouth to say a single word. I try to keep my thoughts in check. I pray that God would give me His eyes. I want to see people as He does. I strive to be compassionate and put myself in other people's place. I remind myself of times when I've been unfairly and incorrectly assessed, referenced in a negative light, or even simply misunderstood.

We are called first and foremost to LOVE!!!!! Love the Lord. Love our neighbors. Love ourselves. Love our families. Love our enemies. So why do we spend so much time and energy hating, condemning, criticizing and judging?

Love. Compassion. Charity. That's what it's all about people!

Matthew 7:1-2 "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." We are instructed not to judge. By doing so, we are sinning and that makes us just as bad as the people we are condemning.