Monday, April 25, 2016
"God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him"- John 3:17
This month has been a wild ride. My Granny died and I had to go back to Arizona, the one place that I didn't really ever want to set foot again. I started thinking it all through and that maybe if I didn't go, who would. Granny was mean, and most people remember that right off the bat. In fact, one of the second phone calls that I made, 20 minutes after learning that she had died, someone reiterated that point. Never the less, I scraped some money together and with the help of my family was able to get on a flight back to the wasteland. It took a while to find the words I would say, but I had some time before the actual memorial to put them together. I spent that time visiting with my other Grandma, my Brother and some friends.
My brother and I had been fighting for some time over well, lets call them growing pains. There was a false sense of peace in our visit as we almost kept things superficial. I don't do superficial very well. I'm not that guy. We pried open a little real dialogue where he said that I was bitter and I laughed a sharp laugh and said that I'm just aware. In that moment I started thinking about judgment.
When the memorial started my Uncle read something he prepared on the life and times of my Granny, Peggy. I learned a lot about the woman that made the worlds greatest sauce and used to break wooden spoons over my backside. The fuller picture of who she was beyond the judgment of a mean old lady. As I stood up to speak I hadn't any idea of what I was going to say beyond an opening joke, but then the words came. I spoke of her faithfulness to reach me when I was far away, in a dark place in my life, that did not have much love illuminating it. A place of deep grief and sadness, that her remembering me and sending me care packages may have been something that kept be afloat some months. My brother shared about how he was right across the street and didn't visit enough. How we can be so caught up 'doing ministry' that we don't minister.
And I think about judgment again.
I think about how often we're refusing to love those in the world because we've judged them.
I think how often we justify our own prejudices because we've judged someone else as being a certain way, when they're merely just working out God and Life and Salvation in a way that isn't how we'd do it. I think about how we judge based on appearance both to the detriment of those we should be reaching, and also to the detriment of those we are to protect.
"I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock;
and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves" Acts 20:29-30
We often do not righteously judge those inside the church who do harm. We often turn a blind eye to their injustices and their abuses because they look clean, or authoritative. We do not judge them righteously because they have the appearance of prestige and we make excuses for their sins why strictly condemning others. We often judge on things that have nothing to do with morality.We often judge without any knowledge of the issue in front of us, out of some misguided attempt to appear holy or smart or better than...
And this isn't the way Christ did it. This isn't the way that we're supposed to.
"Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”- John 7:24