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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Judgement - Where Am I Really?


I started to write my post about the progress I’ve made on this year’s plan to be less judgmental and more loving towards everyone.  I’ve struggled with it all week.  As I was praying last night about why it just didn’t seem to feel write, I sat outside looking at the stars, I thought about a post I read on Facebook.  The story talks of a man who, with the approval of his new ministry team, dressed as a homeless man on his first day as the new pastor at a large church.  Out of a 7,000 plus congregation few greeted him.  When he asked for change for coffee, he was refused.  In fact the ushers asked him to change his seat to the back instead of the front where he had found himself comfortably sitting.  The new pastor certainly was not receiving the normal welcome a new pastor would expect.
When this new pastor was introduced, the homeless looking man walked to the front of the church and the congregation stilled.  He arrived to the podium and quoted scripture from Matthew 25: 37-40  “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you? ’The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

This new pastor then began to describe his new congregation as a grouping of people, not Disciples of Christ Jesus and dismissed the thoroughly embarrassed congregation until the following Sunday some walked away in tears and some somberly walked from the room.  What a message. 
I don’t know if this story is true and honestly to me, it didn’t matter, the message hits home.  The question remains, what would I do?  I know I would pray for him from a distance, but if no one else talked to him, would I? How many times do we look down at someone for the way they dress, the way they talk or behave?  Even in different ways, some bully people because they ask a question we expect them to know the answer to, or wear a blouse that we feel they shouldn’t?  What isn’t known is that maybe the person wearing the blouse has more confidence when she has that particular blouse on.  Perhaps the person asking the question wasn’t given all the information we have about a topic and their questions are valid. 

When was the last time you cut someone off in traffic because they were driving too slow or angrily yelled at someone from behind your steering wheel when you’ve been cut off?  How often do we think of their story?  Are they on their way to an emergency?  What about children who are acting out of control in public?  Now there’s one where so often parents are judged as unfit. Are the children acting out because of a recent tragedy or emotional difficulties due to history of physical violence? 
The point here is that I make these assumptions all the time and I know that I’m not alone.  Making these judgment calls feels normal, easy; sometimes I cringe to say entertaining.  How horrifying to admit.  But have you seen the blogs pointing out what some consider humorous flaws in others? Lord, forgive me for seeing humor in others choice of clothing.  We do not know their stories.
I have so much to learn on my quest to love better.  I know I want to stop being so judgmental, to be a better friend, to be a better person to all, including those who are considered…the “least of these”.  Sometimes in my struggle to “fit in” I feel like maybe the “least of these” is me… 

Lord, forgive me for not always loving everyone for who they are and where they are in their life.  Help me to encourage those who are lost and looking to find you.  Help me to judge less and love more.  Amen.
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

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