You Be The Judge

Who judges?

Not me!

We all exclaim not me, yet…

Recently I read an article in The Washington Post. Lizzy Velasquez was a bubbly, happy child until she went to school. She’d been born with a rare metabolic disease that makes her unable to maintain any body fat. She has 0%.

If you’re like me, one who obsesses over her weight, that may sound ideal, but we know it’s not. Lizzy is skeletal and her metabolism is reeking havoc with her health. It makes her look odd.

One day she happened on a YouTube video of the world’s ugliest women. To her horror, she found pictures of herself and hundreds of comments. In a desperate attempt to find one positive response about her as a lovely person, she read them all. To a one, they were awful–many suggesting she do away with herself and make the world a better place. Not one person knew this beautiful woman. All looked superficially.

Phew, we say, we’re not that bad.

My daughter, Sarah, has a good friend she met

when both were members of the PTO.He’s a math teacher and a swim coach.   This man’s done many marathons–was running the Boston Marathon the day it was bombed. He’s completed multiple triathlons and is training for an IRONMAN. He’s a great husband, a loving father.

And he’s a dwarf.

How sad life would be if we looked at this amazing man an suggested the world would be a better place without him.

Phew, we say, we’re not that bad.

Sadly, recently I discovered that I probably was in league with these people.

I volunteer in Celebrate Recovery, a Christian program for those struggling with addiction or co-dependency. With each meeting I trembled fearing people would believe I had an addiction problem. (Maybe I do, but that’s another blog).

I looked at others, and I wondered about their lives and where alcohol or drugs had taken them.

As I immersed myself in the program, I discovered two are missionaries from a local Bible camp. No addictions. Another was recruited because the tragic loss in her life rivaled Job’s–including the unsympathetic comforter. No addictions. Another volunteered to help with the children, another had a bubbly personality and was recruited to greet people, another had been sentenced to jail, mandated to attend and had turned her life around.

On crazy lady who looked older than I but was probably younger, the one who had no hope of redemption got saved.

Some fit my pre-conceived ideas. But it’s up to God to deal with them, not me. My job is to show them hope and let them make their choices. I need to show mercy. Not judgment.

We’re a mix of ordinary people whose extraordinary lives touch the souls of others.

What did I miss in my first weeks at CR? What do we miss when we look superficially at others?

And how do we stop doing it?

I suggest starting with CR’s first (paraphrased) step: We admit we are powerless over our judgmental attitude, that our lives have become Pharisaical.

James is one of my favorite Bible books because he offers such practical steps on living our faith.  In chapter 2 we read:

My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism….Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor….If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,”[a] you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it….12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

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