Friday, July 06, 2007


John 8: 3-11 (New International Version)

3The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" 6They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."

9At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"

11"No one, sir," she said.
"Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."

My whole family line, particularly on my dad's side has a particular trait.

It is called being very, very critical.

Before I tamed this beast, it raged in my life, thinking that since I could see and criticise, I was clearly of better vision and judgement than those around me, and therefore I must obviously be superior.

I realized in my life that criticism is probably the most abhorrent quality a person can have. It tears people down. And usually the critic built themselves up on the ashes of what they had attempted to level. I decided that my ability to be critical was not really an asset, but rather something that I had to reign in mightily, and quash to the best of my ability.

It actually was easier than I thought. All it takes is love. Yes, it sounds corny.

But a live and let live attitude, turning my head, shrugging my shoulders, a smile and then knowing that we can reap what we sow, whenever the critical beast came up, I knew it was an opportunity to quash it. It was an opportunity to show love, compassion, empathy. And that is always good for me to practice.

Now, when I get the urge to be critical, I usually put the bit in my mouth. I know the old self righteous feeling, I have seen it in my dad and grandma before they layed someone to waste with their corrosive commentary.

I think it is normal for a person to be abnormally disturbed by things at times of their lives that may not matter one whit to others. Like a manager might be sensitive to people who come in late, but a coworker probably wouldn't care as much. Or a person in a rush is less patient with the person in line who has unusual needs and calls for a managers expertise, whereas the same person in no rush wouldn't care.

As a mom, I am more aware of things I used to never care at all about. Like people who smoke around my kid, or swear around my spongebrained 2 year old.

Where am I going with this? People judge other people based on an entirely unique criteria all their own.

Christians judge other people too, on their Christian criteria. Dancing, smoking, drinking, swearing, church attendance, dress, ways money is spent, gentleness, politics, job, attitude are all areas where Christians generally feel free to call judgments down on other Christians and non Christians as well.

I seldom here a sermon talking about not judging other people. I seldom hear the pastor talk about "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."

In the American church it seems like some passages aren't talked about as much as others are. I like this passage alot.

First, it is so very very freeing. Knowing it is not my job to make a choice or decision about whether what someone does is wrong or to be condemned. But it is also convicting, because when I am grouchy, I know I will be tempted to be less than gentle. It's a nice reminder "Hey man, that's not my job,"

It is a chance to respond with love, a chance to DO something that shows how the Lord has changed my heart. I don't have to be that way I was before, I am a new thing now. And that in itself is like worship and obedience. It is where the rubber hits the road with my faith, and that is a beautiful thing.

Sometimes some ideas come up alot. Judgment is one that comes up to me alot. I know when I am being judged, sometimes I can tell someone thinks I am judging them.

My overall solution to all these scenarios is to just forget about it. Eventually it will all work out.

So my thought about judgment is, what about grace? Provided the offense isn't against the law (national or natural), what about being a peacemaker. We aren't called to judge people for the mistakes and choices they make. I say down with this idea of making decisions about whether a person is "worthy" of our company or not. We aren't called to be judges, we are called to be servants. Blessed are the peacemakers, not the critical and judgmental.

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