“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.”
Recently, I read an article disparaging people who plan to vote for a certain presidential candidate. The article has been shared more than 300,000 times on Facebook. If you tell him you’re voting for this particular candidate, the author says, “Instantly, I know there are certain things about you and your character that I can assume that I wouldn’t like if you told me you supported any other …candidate.” And, according to the author, none of those characteristics are good.
I’ve seen many Christians sharing this article and defending its merits to whoever will listen. The first time I saw the headline, I cringed. Then, when I clicked to read the entire article, I felt a deep sense of sadness welling up in me.
Based solely on a person’s choice of presidential candidate, the author contends these individuals lack class, is racist (or at best, have no problem with racism), has issues with women, is not really Christian, and more. Reading the words, there in black and white, felt like a gut punch; not because I’m voting for this particular candidate, but because of what it says about our—my—willingness to judge so liberally and harshly.
I’ve been right there. I have judged those voting for the other candidate, much the same way the author of that article has. I’ve jumped to conclusions and labeled others, based solely on their stance on some topic, or the way they cast their vote, or their lifestyle choices, or their appearance. What I know now is that it’s not always as simple and straightforward as it seems.
When we, the members of the body of Christ, choose to label and shame others, and when we do it so liberally and harshly, we become part of the problem and not the solution. As ambassadors of the Kingdom of God, we are called to a different way of engaging the world, and it begins with love. Love leads to compassion for others — even, and especially, for those who see the world differently than we do. As with everything else, our choice of presidential candidate will mean nothing if we can’t engage one another from a position of love. In the absence of love, our votes and our chastisement of one another are just a bunch of noise that do nothing at all to advance God’s Kingdom here on earth. All of our finger pointing, shaming, and blaming distracts us from what we’re here for: to love God, and to love others, with everything we’ve got.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION:
Whom have you judged too harshly? What steps might you take to begin exercising compassion, instead of judgment?
Lord, I confess that I’ve been quick to criticize. I have judged liberally and harshly. I want to be more compassionate, Lord. I want to be led by love, and not be so quick to judge. Transform my heart, and let me do less finger-pointing. Instead, let me exercise compassion and love in a world that needs it so desperately. Amen.