The Spirit of Judgment in the Church

I noticed this week how actively disagreeing with snap judgments makes it easier to practice empathy. Have you ever noticed that? It is almost as if when we catch ourselves in a moment of irritation or judging others, we have to legitimately disagree with the thought we just had to move on from it. It’s not enough to “move on” or think of something else. If you are like me, we come back to those thoughts, even if we don’t want to. And they come with a lot of other legalistic and painful memories if we ever have a concern that needs discussing.

When I judge someone else, I often do so without saying anything. I’m speaking from my own experience, because that’s all I’ve got. I’ll tell you though that sometimes, the not saying something judgments are the easiest to undo. You recline into silence for a moment and decide that you want to think more of that person than you just did, and whatever just went through your mind isn’t fair. I believe that this process can only be one hundred percent viable, accessible, and permanent through grace. That doesn’t mean that sometimes we all don’t desire to move on, but unselfishness is one of those tentative and often impermanent choices. I believe that we all not just can use, but desperately need to be reminded of our tiny scale.

We can talk about fairness all we want, but it’s easier discussed than given. It feels like sometimes we can even deeply desire to be fair, but a life situation or routine overcomes us and we don’t quite make it. Of course, we can always try again, but I feel like Christians put expectations on themselves to act better than everyone else, when in reality we are trying and desiring not to sin, but we still sin quite a lot. You think about how the world views Christians; that they’re judgy and prudish and gossipy and insistent on their own way, up until Jesus is mentioned. I don’t believe that is how Christ called us to be, but I think it’s fair to say that has often become our reputation. I wonder what would happen if we abandoned the need to try so hard. I’m not talking about condoning sin, or distancing the gospel from our lives, or anything like that. I’m talking about resting in Gods grace and allowing him to help us with our problems openly, like he set himself up to. He isn’t almighty for no reason. Part of his abundance is that he loves us, and that abiding with him, we are better off. Why do we keep acting as if we are so much better than the world? In Gods eyes, we are all the same, and if you really want to share his gospel, you rejoice in that. What place do concerns about status have in the church? Christ’s body is meant to be a holy temple and a place of healing instead of an awkward and distant place of judgment.

We have to make the decision to turn back. All of us. The whole repentance of hypocrisy concept is absolutely necessary today. If we really want to rest on Christ, we have to let him do his work and redeem us. It’s as though we get caught up in a race of trying to redeem ourselves and forget to let God be God, also forgetting what little power we have on our own. I believe that the more people rely on Christ, the more weakened we all will be, in things that dont come directly from the spirit. It is as if our weakness is a tool in his hands to dissolve us of any chains that rest in earthly bondage, and it is as though we are made like his spirit by having the unnecessary and unhelpful parts pass away. If part of your identity rests outside of Christ’s love, he invites you to let him redeem it, and free you of the dead weight that adds to your soul. Like a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser over the unhelpful parts. Should it be a surprise that we are made after Christ’s image, after we are redeemed in the fullest, 100% desire of our hearts? How can it be?

None of us can be perfect, and it is a lot more honest to admit that all we do is try. We try to explain and fail and do our best and fail again, but we do it together and with the teaching of God and his strength on our side. His good news is best for those in weakness because he tells them that they don’t need to change a thing. Why don’t we try that?


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I am a second-grade teacher and pastor-to-be who loves people. I spend my weekends with friends or wandering the museums of DC alone and with a journal, trying to put words on the places of the soul that still feel wordless. I spent most of my days at school trying to learn patience through my students and running on sheer nerdy passion. I follow Jesus Christ, and savor that as my most important identity--that I am a child of God, as are infinite others, regardless of their other identities. Christ is my one thing.

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