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.

Matthew 7:1-2

 

A crowd gathered together in a civil protestLast week, a guy came to our city. He arrived in a gigantic tour bus and he had a police escort and he stood on the steps of our Capital building and drew a great crowd. I knew he was coming. All around town, for weeks, there had been posted fliers and posters and placards announcing his arrival. I saw the announcements, made a mental note of the date, and reminded myself to avoid the area that day.

This guy and I? We do not see the world the same way. Despite the fact that we both love Jesus, the things this guy says often make me roll my eyes. Jesus knew this about us. He knew our salvation was no guarantee we’d always agree with one another.

By a clever turn of events, despite my best intentions, God saw fit to have me standing in the crowd when this certain guy came to our city. I prayed before I went, knowing all too well my propensity toward mumbling something unsavory under my breath and building a wall around my heart so no love can get in, or out. “God,” I said out loud to the air around me, “help me to see what you see.”

I stood on the sidewalk, struggling with myself to stop being judgmental, and confessing — moment after moment — my bad feelings about this guy and the throngs of people who’d come out to our city to show him their support.

All I can tell you is that I kept up a furious cycle of praying and confessing, praying and confessing, praying and confessing. I prayed that God would show me what he saw, and I confessed when I cast judgment on someone in the crowd.

Here’s the thing: It’s not our role to judge. That’s Jesus’ job, and he knows what he’s doing. My job, while standing in a crowd of people who see the world differently than I do, was to love them. Period. The end. Jesus gave us clear instructions. If I’m wrong, he’ll let me know. If you’re wrong, I’ve got to trust the work of the Holy Spirit in your life to reveal your missteps to you. In the meantime, the very clear commandment we’ve been given boils down to four letters: L-O-V-E. When my motive is anything but love, I’m on my way down a slippery slope. How do we get to love? We get there through a furious cycle of prayer and confession, prayer and confession, prayer and confession. Asking God to help us see what he sees, and confessing when we slip over into judgmental attitudes about other people.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION:

Who are the people of faith that see the world differently than you? Have you been keeping them at arm’s length? Have you been judging them, or loving them?

PRAYER:

Dear God, these are the people who love you and who see the world differently than I do: (List some of these people by name). Help me to see them the way you see them. Forgive me for the times I’ve judged them, rather than loved them. In Christ’s Name, Amen.

Explore online Bible commentary for Matthew 7:1-2 at the Theology of Work Project.
 
This post was originally published on May 29, 2016.
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5 Responses to The Spiritual Practice of Disagreeing (Without Being Disagreeable)

  1. Tracy Kelly says:

    This is so appropriate for those persecuting our LGBT Christian brothers and sisters. Though I’m sure that wasn’t the authors intention, that was what came to the forefront of my mind while reading the article. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Megan says:

    Wonderful message! L-O-V-E

  3. Larry Brook says:

    Great message, perfect timing. If you are a follower of Fr. Richard Rohr then you should be sure to read his daily devotional for today. It makes for a great combo with yours.

    Thanks for all your hard work. I read your daily devotional each and every day and always find something that lifts my spirit.

  4. Barry says:

    I love the way you told this story. You were bluntly honest about yourself. But you prayed and confessed your way through an unwelcome encounter and allowed the goodness of God to shine through you. Thank you, Deidra.

  5. Sara says:

    in a parallel type situation, the Lord has gently asked me , “Who are you, to be telling my servant what to do?” This. Rings on the praying and confession cycle.