I promise I’m not trying to beat a dead horse. From the fantastic conversations I keep having about judgment, I am learning that the horse is still very alive. In all of us. So I’m just keeping the conversation going this week. And I sincerely thank those of you who are joining in, whether I know about it or not.
For today, I want to say one main thing: The non-judgment experiment is about you and what God desires to do in your heart.
It is not about other people getting away with doing wrong things. People everywhere are always getting away with doing all kinds of wrong things. Our judgment will never ever make the slightest dent in that, rest assured. (I know that might sound terrifying on one hand, but take a look at the other hand! Isn’t it incredibly freeing??)
The entire judgment experiment is, in fact, not really about other people at all. Any potential change in posture toward other people will be a byproduct of the main thing. The main thing is God and what he is doing in and through me.
It is not about what I’m doing or not doing. To be honest, I’m not sure if my actions have changed at all since I started the experiment. It is only my heart that has changed. Maybe my actions will change someday, but that is of no concern to me at this point. My judging-addicted heart is the prominent subject.
It is not about my dumbing down into an ignorant, hear-no-evil-see-no-evil, discernment-less child. It is about freeing me from the hatred, the bitterness, and the pride that judgment invisibly threatens to build up in my heart.
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Relatedly, I offer you my re-write of a short excerpt from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount Matthew 7:1-5:
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. How can you be concerned about the wart that is on your brother’s arm, but do not do anything about the stage IV colon cancer that is ravaging your organs? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘You really need to get that wart removed,’ when you are so crippled with cancer? You hypocrite! First finish your surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments, and then if you’re still alive, you can mention the wart to your brother.”
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So, my best suggestion is: Just try it. It is only an experiment. Just try practicing not-judging for a month and see where it leads you.
If “judgment” seems too big a monster to tackle, might I make a suggestion for simplifying things? Pay attention to just one label or category (for people, organizations, books, music, etc.) you use often. Then eliminate that label for a month. (One example: Stop using the labels “Christian” / “non-Christian.”) See how it goes.
If the experiment leads you to more freedom, more compassion, more trusting God than trusting your own self-assessments, then you’ll know that it is indeed the Way of Jesus.
A warning as you begin: If at first you feel fear, guilt, or like your “rights” are being wrenched from you, stick with it! Those might first appear as signs of “I’d turn back if I were you,” BUT no! They are all of the natural feelings you will experience when something you’ve held onto for so long is put on the altar of transformation. Push through it; it’ll get less scary over time.
Here’s the good(?) news: If, in the end, you hate the results, you can always just go back to how you are now. Life as you know it will always be there waiting for you. But what if the results give you a freedom you’ve never known…??
Today is September 20. Start today and you can be done with the experiment on October 20. (Perfect – right before Halloween, and just in time to get back at it, judging all those slutty tramps for their way-too-skimpy costumes! Ha! Funny? Not funny? Sorry. I couldn’t help it. OR maybe the experiment will change you and skimpy costumes will be the least of your worries…)