For Those of Us Judging

I’ve stumbled across a pattern in my own life. I see it mostly because I see it in other people and it drives me crazy. Most of us are extremly judgmental people. The time I notice it the most is when we are in the midst of change. For instance, I grew up Pentecostal. I grew up around the speaking in tongues, I even admittedly have done that myself. I’ve been up to the altar a good hundred thousand times, I’ve watched people fall, I’ve hoped people would fall when I pray for them. I’ve been through just as many worship services. I’ve jumped up and down. I’ve done it all. I would have been considered quite a good Pentecostal and was on my way up in the Pentecostal culture getting offered jobs and what not. Part of the underlying assumption of Pentecostals (that they would never tell you) is that they are more spiritual and it all comes from the belief that they are baptised in the Holy Spirit.

When I was in the Pentecostal church, I was quite a judgmental person. I looked down on those that didn’t see the faith as I did, because they were wrong. I argued against homosexuality in my classrooms as if my faith was based on convincing people that it was wrong. I loved to prove to someone God exists.

Then I started to change. I won’t get into the changes right now, but basically I’m the opposite of what I used to be. If you are reading this blog you know that already. Now I find myself being judgmental toward almost all Pentecostals. I think they are narrow-minded, mislead and too emotional. I don’t think they are anti-intellectual and care too much about themselves. Now listen to me, I could go on forever because there are so many things I can’t stand about it. The worst part about this, is I used to be them, and now I find myself judging them and getting upset about how stupid they can be. It’s not just with Pentecostals though. It’s with everything that I’m changing. I look at the new Wal Mart up in Sarnia and watch the hundreds of cars that are going in there every hour and can’t help but look at everyone’s consumerist heart. Or I watch someone get a brand new car, or boat or a house that’s too big for them and get upset because that money could be used better. When three years ago, I never would have flinched to any of these things.

Us judgmental people can’t win. We hate what we don’t understand and we hate what we do understand. We hate where we are going and we hate where we’ve been. If anything we need to learn to focus on the way we look at people that are different. Our judgmental attitude comes from the differences between us and its hurting us. This is why I think Jesus was so amazing. He knew how to handle difference. He was never threatened by the fact that people disagreed with him or believed passionately something contrary even thought he probably thought it was stupid. He loved being around people that were different, in fact it seemed like he tried hard to be around those people. We can learn from this desire to be around those that we don’t normally want to be around. We need to stop running from and making assumptions about those we don’t know and embrace them, learn from them and love them. It’s the only way we can cure this horrible disease and prejudice in our lives; by doing the opposite of what we feel at times. Instead of judging those we don’t understand, let’s learn to search for the good in them. Instead of spending less time with the people that aren’t like us, let’s seek to spend more time with them. It’s in the journey of our uncomfort where I believe where we will start to understand Jesus a bit better.

3 Comments

  • I grew up in the pentecostal/charasmatic Church myself. I just recently really considered myself to be saved. Everything I thought God was and the Bible spoke of was really inaccurate for many years. There was a high level of unjust righteousness and judgmental attitudes from the people I was around.

    “Our judgmental attitude comes from the differences between us and its hurting us.”

    I would say this is Just as much a result of our sinful ways, as it is on the other side of the spectrum teaching and preaching a false Christ driven on the drawing of emotion in doing so. I agree, I see myself being angry a lot, but remember, it is indeed righteous anger. Christ had anger, he just had anger without sin. Paul teaches us how to deal with our anger. I believe with my own ange, it comes from the love I have for Christ, and the strong dislike for the flamboyant free-will doctrines of man which basically teach we save ourselves. Theres a level of self idolatry going on in certain movements and sects and it angers them that the other side gives God all the Glory. It’s easy to say “It’s all about Christ” It’s often more difficult to examine a doctrine and realize Christ is really in the background on the desires of Man.

    Just a thought from a sinner saved by Grace alone.

    – Michael

  • Greg Boyd spoke on the Kingdom of God at our church for 4 weeks, and he preposed something radical for me…Hate is not the opposite of Love….Judgement is. Judgement is ascribing worth to yourself at cost to others, while love is ascribing unsurpassable worth to others at cost to yourself (1 John 3:16). Check out this exercise my buddy does (http://forrestjump.blogspot.com/)

    “so i have developed an exercise. we’ll call it a spiritual discipline – that, if applied to my lifestyle every few days or weeks, will strengthen my ‘higher self’ or ‘new man’ or ‘bad ass’ or whatever it is that cooperates with the Spirit of God (i.e. unrelenting generousity & compassion). it’s called “people watching”. i know we all do it. some of us even watch people watching other people. but this is maybe a bit different b/c of the intention – in the same way one could eat a big mac for nourishment or only for entertainment. so the intention to cultivate is this: no partiality. meaning, that as i am watching big/small, dirty/clean, sober/stoned, rich/poor, pretty/ugly people i am doing so with the intention of seeing value in each one that i focus on. breaking subconscious habits of finding people less than. i am confronting automatic response patterns and prejudices that come up, for example, when i see an anarchist and just want to write him off as an angry lost soul. first, i have to acknowledge that i really do feel this way and then try to move into projecting/thinking/praying only good things for this person – as well as asking the Great Spirit to help me out with my crusty, impatient tendencies to be closed jerk. basically, asking for help as i work towards becoming a more merciful, understanding person. and we all know that life is a lot better when you are hanging out with someone like that. things feel on time and you feel as though you are actually a unique and interesting person.”

    I’m not good at it, but it certainly helps center me up on love.

  • Hey Andrew thanks for the comment. What a powerful few lines there at the top. I absolutely love it.

    Where on that site that you linked to is that exercise you talked about?

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