I've been thinking a lot about judgement this month. It's second nature to humans, isn't it? How many judgments of another person do you think we make in a day?
- "When will those boys aim better and stop peeing on the floor?"
- "Why can't the grown-up man in this house use the hamper that's sitting in the bathroom?"
- "That mailman is lazy!" He saw me coming from my house after he knocked at my door a few minutes earlier. Instead of reaching back into his vehicle to give me my packages, he just finished loading up the mailboxes and drove away. Now I have to take a trip to the post office to get my packages, per two orange notices placed in my mailbox.
- "Why would the checker put the Drano in the same bag as my food?"
- "Why would someone let their curious kid catch and keep thirty salamanders, just for fun? What about the ecosystem?"
- Why can't my kids be more grateful? Why do they complain every time they have to clean the playroom? Don't they know some kids live in tin homes with no address, far smaller than their cushy playroom?"
When we perceive another's judgement of us, how does it make us feel? Small, unsettled, physically sick, even guilty.
I used to follow a homeschool blog until one day, the author made a comment about the failing economy--passing judgement on the long-term unemployed. "Why don't people just get out there and do something else--something in a different field? Hard times call for innovation."
I wasn't angry, but I did stop reading the blog. There was no gratitude for what God had given her family. There was no acknowledgement that God gives talents as He sees fit--even the propensity for innovation. Some have many talents, some have a few, some have almost none. She failed to recognize that some circumstances lead to hopelessness, which is crippling in itself. Finally, there was the presumption that the long-term unemployed are just lazy.
But I wasn't angry, because I judge plenty also. Life experience is the ultimate heart softener, and this person was barely thirty. She was ignorant of her sin.
I often feel irritated at two particular people in my house for what I perceive to be ungratefulness. Glass-half empty describes the way these two look at life. They rarely count blessings; it grieves me, angers me, stretches my ability to look upon them with grace. They count hardships like King Midas counts money.
God is working with me regarding my irritation--trying to soften my heart toward these two house-mates. While counting blessings and looking on the bright side are good and right, they're also part of a natural bent--a personality characteristic. We should all do it--we will all benefit, but for some, it's an arduous, unnatural chore.
Here is the humbler: We don't get to choose our personalities. Some are more attractive than others, but not because the owner is more holy. Yes, we can, over time, polish our rough spots or hide them, but our gene-decided personality will keep fighting our efforts.
We are nothing without Christ.
Pride tells us we deserve some recognition--for making the right decisions, for being opportunistic, for being flexible when necessary, unyielding when necessary, prudent, long-suffering.....our list of accomplishments is long. Right?
We are nothing. He gives, blesses, takes away. Some are rich, some poor, some just get by. Some heat their attractive homes to seventy degrees in the winter, while others live in tin houses, fear for their children's lives daily, know ten-day hunger, drink pain and hopelessness away.
Why shouldn't we judge? Because we are nothing without Christ. And because judgement is puffed up pride.
It's painful to think about.....hard to understand.....but God allows inequality in his Upside-Down Kingdom. His graces and unfailing love are with the poor in spirit, but upward mobility and happy endings--which we're obsessed with--do not top his to-do list.
Unless, of course, Paradise is the happy ending you're talking about.
Adding to his Kingdom--reaping a harvest of souls for eternity? That tops his list.