I am a very judgmental person. Of myself and of others. My husband says we all are. He’s really different than me, and he’s really wonderful, so I believe him.
Anyway, questions about judgment have been cropping up in my default thought-bank lately. You know, the bank to which your thoughts turn when you’re not really thinking about anything in particular? (Maybe it’s the book I just finished reading.)
Where has judgment gotten me?
Where has judgment gotten the people I’ve judged?
Where has judgment gotten us?
Think about a time you judged someone else (whether verbally or with visible body language). Did it ever lead them to the ‘repentance,’ to the life change you wanted for them? Did they ever fall at your feet and say, “Thanks for making me feel badly about myself while simultaneously making yourself feel good about yourself; it makes me want to be more like you and I’m going to totally turn my life around in the way you suggest right this instant?”
Think about a time you felt judged by someone else (whether verbally or with visible body language). Did it ever lead you to ‘repentance,’ to lasting life change for good? Have you ever felt like someone was judging you for being fat and it made you just bound right over to the gym and never even be tempted to eat an Oreo again? Have you ever felt like someone was guilting you to be more religious in any number of God-awful ways and it made you just bound awake at 5am to read your Bible with a full heart every day for the rest of your life? Have you ever felt like someone was using fear tactics to get you to believe what they wanted you to believe and so you said you believed it and then, all of a sudden, you really did believe it unquestioningly for the remainder of your existence, in the meantime feeling like a more free, more full human being?
I didn’t think so.
Nowhere. That’s where judgment has gotten us. Absolutely nowhere, besides hurt and alienated and lonely.
Then, why, Why, WHY, my dear friends, are we still doing it?!?!?!
Judgment, guilt, fear. None work for change in a good, lasting, freeing way.
I don’t know about you, but the only thing that has ever made any lasting, whole-hearted difference in my life for long, for good, and for freedom is love. Judgment hasn’t worked for long. Guilt hasn’t worked for good. Fear hasn’t brought freedom. Only unconditional love from God and from my community can really change me, deep down, from the inside out. “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?” Paul wrote in his letter to Christ-followers in the early church at Rome.
How, then, might I bring more of that unconditional love of God into my view of myself so that it will get me unstuck from all of my stuck places? How can I offer more of that unconditional love to my people (the people in and out of my life in any kind of regular way) in a way that will bring lasting good and lasting freedom to them, purely for their sake?