Jesus Didn’t Really Mean Don’t Judge Right…

1409594_29311718This Sunday we are looking at probably the most important teaching of Jesus for our day and age. I say this because two of the 3 tops things Christians in North America are known for is being judgmental, and hypocritical. The irony, and also the deep sadness is that Jesus is really clear: do not judge. (Matthew 7:1)

Soren Kierkegaard once said something like, the Bible is clear, most Christians just don’t want to follow it. And I think of that often in terms of this teaching of Jesus. It couldn’t be clearer but it also couldn’t be less practiced.

So on Sunday I want to help us begin to practice this by peeling back some of the layers and seeing how when we judge we separate ourselves from others and God. I want to discover how Jesus’ teaching is so freeing, brilliant, and amazing that we should want to live this way.

I know sometimes it’s hard to imagine a world without judging and condemning because it is so normal to us. But we need to imagine a world without it, we need to practice a world without – because that’s God’s kind of world. That’s God’s kingdom, a community and a place where people don’t judge but go graciously to one another. A place where people deal with their own stuff, rather than trying to deal with someone else’s. A place where people who have experienced grace, share grace.

So I think this Sunday matters because I think we need to learn how to live without judgment. I think we desperately need to learn how to live without condemning others. I think we need to learn to live like Jesus – or at least I do. Because judging comes so naturally to me, it’s so easy to have a running dialogue of judging thoughts go through my head. But here Jesus is clear, don’t judge. And my honest belief is that if Jesus taught it, we should do it. And not only that, he will provide a way for us to do it. And that’s what we want to discover, a way to live without judgment.

So that’s where we are going, but before we get there why not do this little thought experiment for the rest of the weekend. Why not just try to notice how often you judge. And as you do think about how your relationships and this world might be changed if we just got rid of that. I think it’s worth trying to do. What about you?

Evaluating and Judging God’s Bride

Something recently has occurred to me. Often after Sunday’s service I ask Krista, “How did it go today?” Or more honestly, “How did I do?” And I’ve started to notice something. That those types of questions don’t seem to help my soul, and my connection with God. As I’ve become aware of this, I’ve started to notice, as well, that often after any service people ask these types of questions:

  • How was the service today?
  • What did you think of the sermon?
  • What was the worship like this morning?
  • How did it go?

But did you notice something in those questions? They all create distance between us and “the church” or the community.

These type of questions put us in a stance above or beyond what was happening by creating space for us to judge, evaluate, or critique. These questions pull us out of community to evaluate rather than driving us deeper into community to create and connect. While I personally want to pursue excellence each and every Sunday these types of questions don’t lead to excellence, because they negate relationships. They lead to distance, space, coldness, and critique rather than healthy engagement, relationship, creativity, and community connection.

So I’ve decided to ask different questions after each and every Sunday. Now I don’t ask “How did I do”. But instead “What did God do this morning?” Instead of critiquing I search for God’s involvement. This has led to a big difference. Now I often ask Krista these questions:

  • How did you and others sense and discover God today?
  • Were you engaged and ready to hear God speak?
  • What surprised you and spoke to you?
  • How did you contribute to your community today?
  • What is God asking you to do out of your connection this morning?

Do you see the difference? I think that difference is important because it reminds us we’re all in this together.

So this Sunday on the drive home rather than asking, “What did you think?” Ask a different question and discover a different way to look at community. My theological hunch is that going into a service searching for God, for how you can contribute, and connect will change not only the service for you but for others as well.

So this Sunday go expecting to meet God rather than to judge his bride and see how it changes you and your community…