I often hear people telling others not to judge, but when we tell a kid to stop reaching for something on a hot stove, are we not judging their behavior?
If a young kid is doing something that is dangerous, we tell them to stop. Do we hate the child? NO! Are we judging them? YES! Refusing to stop them from doing something that could end in tragedy would be a HATEFUL act!
Most of God’s laws are written for the same reasons, parents judge their kids on a regular basis. We don’t do it because we are hateful tyrants, we do it because we love them, and want them to have the best life possible.
“Tragedy is that our attention centers on what people are not, rather than on what they are and who they might become.” ~Brennan Manning
“Perhaps, if you weren’t so busy regarding my shortcomings, you’d find that I do possess redeeming qualities, discreet as they may be. I quietly carry the burdens of others as though they were my own. And I say ‘I’m sorry’ when you don’t. I am not without fault, but I am not without goodness either.” ~Richelle E. Goodrich
“There’s nothing wrong with enjoying looking at the surface of the ocean itself, except that when you finally see what goes on underwater, you realize that you’ve been missing the whole point of the ocean.” ~Dave Barry
“To love a man enough to help him, you have to forfeit the warm, self-righteous glow that comes from judging.” ~Ron Hall
Leviticus 19:15 “You shall do no injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor. 16 You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not stand up against the life of your neighbor: I am the Lord.
17 “You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. 18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.
“You are afraid of me! Yet I am not really wicked. Love me and you shall see! All I wanted was to be loved for myself.” The Phantom of the Opera
Those words are spoken by a man who was so badly deformed that his own mother forced him to wear a mask when he came near her. He had never been kissed, not even by his mother! While it does not excuse the evil he did, if you can put yourself in his shoes for just a moment. I think you can see how The Phantom Eric became really angry with the world.
We all to lesser extremes have unfortunate things in our past. Those unfortunate things can often drive a person to sin. When we are tempted to judge people we need to remember that we don’t know what that person has endured.
The local bully on the playground might be abused by someone in his/her family.
The prostitute you drove by yesterday could have been kidnapped by a pimp.
We should also remember that we are sinners too, we have no right to have a self righteous attitude toward the people we judge.
We judge to help someone not to beat them down.
While we should be angry at the sins of people, we need to remember that each person was made in the image of God, with a history that may make their sins viewable in a new light. While some sinners do need to be kept away from society because they are dangerous, all sinners need someone who will attempt to take them by the hand and say there is a better way.
The title of today’s blog is a quote by my pastor Bob Fuller.