Friday, July 23, 2010

WHEN JUDGEMENT HAS A FACE


“The more one judges, the less one loves.” ~ Honore de Balzac

When is it right to judge? I’ve been asking myself that lately. Just when order seems to settle in my life, emotional chaos explodes. Then, as I pick up the pieces, I find certain things I must re-examine.

I know there are actions we are free to and must judge. Harmful behavior such as telling lies, murder, stealing, deceiving others, cheating, and slander need to be exposed and condemned.

But, what about when our judging goes beyond the above actions? Is it right to pronounce a sentence on others because they do not hold the same beliefs and convictions as us? I’ve spoken before about how easy it is to blurt out a stinging condemnation in righteous indignation against a group of people, a culture, or a nation, because we don’t see individual faces. 


Statements like—“the reason people are poor is because they are lazy,” or “all homosexuals are going to Hell,” or “Christians are bigots and hypocrites,” or “Republicans/Democrats are evil”— are easy to make when they are pronounced as a blanket statement on faceless masses.

But . . . then . . ..

Then one day our judgment gets a face. And the face belongs to someone in our family or to one of our dearest friends. Let me tell you, when that happens,  judgment turns bitter on the tongue.

Maybe that is why God told us to leave the judging up to Him. He has relieved us from the burden of pronouncing sentence on the thoughts and intentions of other people’s hearts. Furthermore, He instructed us to love instead because according to God, “love never fails.” 


We don’t even know our own heart, which is called “desperately wicked” in the Bible, so how can we know everyone else’s?

We don’t know their journey or hear their prayers in the night. We don’t know their life-story or the struggles they are fighting through. We don’t know their journey or their end. We don’t know their heart. God does.

God will judge, I firmly believe that. I also believe that He has laid out the best path for us to follow. It is up to us to decide whether to walk on it or the path of our own choosing. The path others walk on is none of my business, but loving them is my business and my responsibility.

About now, there may be a few who are reading this post just itching to express their objections. Three years ago, I would have been among them. But some of my judgments now have faces.

That changes things.

It forces me to dig deeper in my understanding and my faith. I have to draw nearer to God and decide either I trust Him or I don’t. Above all else, I must trust His love for those I love and I must be patient with their journey.

I’m so relieved that God has given me permission, indeed commanded me, to love others as myself. No matter what path they have chosen.

And by my love He will be reflected.






1 comment:

Normandie Fischer said...

Excellent post, Linda. Thanks.
N