I am sitting here judging you..
I apologize ahead of time. I know it’s really crappy and very un-Christian of me. But I am just being honest. Your tattoos, piercings, and funky colored hair baffle me. I notice you didn’t wash your hands before you exited the bathroom, and how you lost your temper in the checkout line. Oh, and I can look in your shopping cart and see what the problem is with your unruly toddler. Sugary cereal, pop-tarts, soda, overflow in the cart, with absolutely no produce to be found. I see you are greeted by a barking dog that is locked up in the car with no windows cracked, You load your bags of processed food into the backseat that is littered with fast food cups and old french fries. I watch in horror as you light a cigarette and leave it dangling from your lips as you buckle your little one in their seat without tightening the straps.
I roll my eyes and climb into my car as I sip my frappacino. A car pulls into the handicap spot beside me.
And I am sitting here judging you.
You look to be about my age, but your body has clearly never birthed a baby, I avert my eyes as you adjust your manufactured breasts to keep them from spilling over the top of your size 00 designer cami. I see you primp your blonde hair in the rearview mirror of your 2 seater convertible that probably costs more than my house. As rap music blares from the speakers I notice as you mouth along to lyrics that would make Jay-Z blush.
I do not vocalize my disapproval, although it is probably written all over my face. I don’t snap a pic and post it on People of Walmart. I do not text my bff and tell them the bizarre scene I just witnessed. I sit in my clean, air conditioned, suburban and relish in the fact that I am not you. Either one of you. I might even say a little “thank you Jesus” type prayer for the blessings of good hygiene, well-behaved kids, and a husband that gets my car washed every weekend. Thank God I am not a materialistic, childless, lover of rap music. And the prayer makes me feel even better about myself.
No sin satisfies the flesh quite like self-righteousness.
I have been thinking a lot lately about self-righteousness. It is easy for me to spot this nasty attribute in others, especially when it is directed against me. But, I always feel justified in judging other people. I am quick to validate my disapproval of others. I can veil it with my concern for their children or my fear for their souls.
But, truly, I am disgusted with my thoughts. Why do I feel I am any better than this mom at the grocery store? Or this woman in the convertible? How can I stop the madness of this critical spirit?
The answer lies in the heart of Jesus.
He loves her. Each part of her. Every inch, inside and out. From her turquoise highlights to the fertility god tattooed on her ankle. From her MAC lipstick to her red Jimmy Choos.
The only thing he would change is her knowledge of His love for her. He wants her to know He adores her, that He delights in her, right now. Without changing anything. He is not waiting for her to stop smoking or to eat whole foods. He doesn’t want her to sell her car or put on a turtle neck. He wants her to know He died for her. Her looks, her behavior, her past means nothing to Him after the cross.
So, when I see a hot mess, he only sees a heart. He sees pain, struggles, fears and all he wants to do is heal them.
In my 40’s, after being a believer most of my life, I am just now learning about the immense love of Jesus. And I am in awe. I don’t know how I missed it. But, I am so grateful to know it now. Other’s may warn that this Jesus is too sentimental and a figment of my imagination. They say a God this gracious is watered down, but I have never seen a more vibrant God in my life. I can never unsee what He has shown me. And that kind of grace is contagious.
As I learn about how much he loves us, how much he loves me, I began to knock the dirt off and my judgment begins to diminish. I see what He sees. It’s like being given new eyes, because they are new. Seeing in the spirit, walking in the spirit, I see everything in a different light. I love in a different way, in a way I tried to manifest before that never felt like love.
To that mom at the store, I offer my most sincere apology. To the woman parked next to me, I am very sorry. I should have offered you a smile, a helping hand, or asked you out for coffee. I can’t promise it won’t happen again. But, each time I see a little clearer His daughters and HIs love. I pray you know how much He loves you, and that He died for you.
Or maybe you already know, and you are just doing your best, just like me.
Enter His Rest, Stacey
Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now He has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you HOLY in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation. Colossians 1:21-22