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.