This is the kind of post that I almost dread writing because the subject matter isn’t totally clear in my head which means it probably resembles word vomit on the screen, but it keeps coming up, so write I must. Let’s go way back, like junior high school back. My dad and myself were having a conversation about judging people based on what they were wearing. Specifically, I think I was defending someone with many facial piercings, tattoos, and all black clothing. I was explaining to my dad that I was sure that person could’ve been perfectly sweet and maybe even a strong Christian. My dad argued differently, and honestly, it made sense. It makes sense. You can judge a book by its cover, no? (as i duck for cover from the angry mob). I wouldn’t see a book titled “Learning to Ride a Bike” and expect it to be about throwing knives, now would I? I wouldn’t wear a t-shirt that says “I’m pro-life” if I’m really pro-choice, would I? I would judge both of those things at face value. Makes sense to me. But people are different though, right?
The house across the street from ours is now vacant. Yesterday some people drove up and started peeking in the windows and checking out the property. I judged them based on the car they were driving. I’m a big, fat judger. Apparently, I’m Judge Judy. It happened again today at Wal-Mart. I judged. I sat on my high-horse. I judged. At the park, again! “Look at the man smoking at the playground. What kind of person does that?! If he burns my child I might burn him back!” “What kind of parent doesn’t put a jacket on their kid right now? It’s cold!” “Is that a man or woman? Oh my, I can’t tell. Why would someone dress like that?” Judge. Judge. Judge.
I’ve been struggling with this ever since I read Romans 2:1-4:
1You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?
My theology isn’t great. I’m still learning. A lot. But I’m pretty sure that judging another person based on such asinine things as the car they drive and the clothes they wear (or are not wearing for that matter) is wrong. God knew it would happen and that’s why He made it clear that I am a MERE woman. Who am I to judge? The definition of ‘mere’ is being nothing more nor better than. God’s kind of perfect like that. Sometimes I forget that God loves that person just as much as He loves me. Even the guy smoking on the playground. That’s so crucial. God doesn’t play favorites.
But here’s the rub. How do I teach my daughter to judge someone as dangerous? The Bible also says we will know a person by his or her fruit. Isn’t that judging them on some level? This is where my weak theology comes into play. But it’s one of those things that God hasn’t allowed me to be free from. Judge Judy. It plays over and over. I can’t put into words the difference between judging someone and knowing them by their fruit, but I think I know the difference. Here we go with the word vomit and rabbit trails. I’ve just felt really convicted regarding this. It happens all the time. It’s so accepted. I judge people on what they wear, how they speak, what they drive, where they live. It’s awful. It’s sin. I’m no one’s judge.
Knowing is half the battle.