I so wish I could change it.
I so wish I could change one of the recurring themes in interactions involving judging. I just love thinking about how much cheerier the world would be if it were different!
Judging misses an opportunity to care.
Take this story, for example…
Mindy is hanging out in the church lobby waiting for service to start. Oh yeah! she thinks. Here comes Sarah, my small group leader!
Um… but wait.
Sarah races by Mindy with her hand up covering her face.
Um, really? Mindy thinks. How rude! She’s my small group leader, and she didn’t even have the common courtesy to say hi. And then she put her hand up to cover her face?! I’m not two years old. I know you’re still there. If you don’t want to talk to me, then just tell me. If you don’t want to be friends, there are more mature ways to let me know than to pretend like you don’t see me and that I can’t see you in the church lobby. You clearly don’t want me in your small group.
And on top of all that, Mindy thinks, you’re my small group leader! This is no way for a small group leader to act. I should find a staff person and let them know how rude my small group leader is being. She is certainly not reflecting Christ’s love.
So that’s what Mindy thinks. Now this is what’s going on in Sarah’s world…
Sarah is on her way to church. She’s putzing along in traffic, all the while praying for the girls in her group. She adores those ladies.
As she walks into church, she greets the guy cleaning the windows. He gets startled, and oops! Window cleaner spray goes right in her eye. She jerks and rubs her eye… but apparently too harshly. Her contact lens scratches her eye, and as she’s rubbing, it goes who-knows-where on her eyeball. Ouch! Her eye is on fire from the combination of the chemicals, the scratch, and now the super awkward – and painful – location of her contact lens. With her hand clutching her eye, she races towards the bathroom hoping to get some relief by flushing her eye out with water. It’s kind of hard to see and navigate through the crowd. She prays, Lord, it would be nice if someone saw me and could come help.
Mindy feels like she has quite the case. But does she? When she runs her thoughts through Philippians 4:8, how will she fare?
Now what if Mindy – instead of judging and critiquing – chose instead to take captive her thoughts? What if she chose to consider palliating circumstances? What if she chose to not let judging and critiquing distract – or usurp – her love for her sister? What if she had chosen instead of judging to care?
We have such a powerful opportunity as believers for our love for one another to be a testimony of Christ. Yet judging or critiquing often causes us to miss an opportunity to care. It can be such a sinful distraction from Christ’s call in our lives to love one another!
Simply being aware of this can keep us watchful for sin and Satan’s sneaky ways! It can be a reminder when a judgmental thought enters our mind to ask, “Is there a way I could show love here? Is my judging causing me to miss an opportunity to care?”
The Lord was gracious to use this in a powerfully humbling way in my life recently. I can’t wait to tell you about it next time!