Luke 6:37-38 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
This is one that I could maybe quote from memory, but until this morning if you would have asked me what it was about, I would have said tithing. This is the reference point I have heard it from most of my life with the first part left out...the acceptance part. As I was reading it today, I wondered why we take verses apart to meet our need for the moment. Isn't this a whole thought? Give acceptance and forgiveness and acceptance and forgiveness will be given abundantly? Is this really even about money?
I acknowledge that I have walked in judgment a good deal of my life. I don't hate myself or beat myself up over it, but I do see clearly that I have walked that path and have harmed doing so. I put my tithe in the plate and walked out to judge over things like cloth vs. disposable, breast vs. bottle, homeschooling vs. traditional, and the obvious "big" ones. Judging with a sideways glance or even with my mouth.
I wonder if I have judged more than most, because my passion has changed dramatically. I cannot stomach myself when I judge anymore, which I still struggle with, mostly toward Christians. I judge them the most at this stage of the game. I am convicted of that. I cannot hate/judge the haters/judgers. At the risk of sounding judgmental even there, I am not calling all Christians haters and judgers. I just think we..I included myself there...are really good at it, and I have no idea how that helps a world full of people that need love.
But things are changing for me. Some have called me "tolerant"...which as we know is an insult to a Good Christian Republican. But, I am no longer a Good Christian Republican. I really would prefer to not have a label placed on me. I want to be a person who walks in grace, love, acceptance, forgiveness. I want to give and receive those gifts. And maybe that will help more than judgment, hatred, rejection, and unforgiveness. I have not "backslidden" so far that I no longer know that there is right and wrong in the world. I do know that. But, I just don't see how shunning people is going to do a bit of good. It divides. If someone judges me, I don't give a shit if they think I am "bad" or "good." Jesus did not divide himself from the world, and he was just and perfect. I like the picture in my head of Jesus. I see him as a good man, you know the type, sitting down on a barstool with a hopeless man, listening, caring, understanding, helping, and just being...maybe even with a Widmer in his hand. Gasp. But truthfully, I almost cry when I see him that way because he isn't scary. He isn't going to see someone as so bad that he will condemn them or give up on them. I find that picture more appealing than someone with their nose in the air with their hidden scars trying to fix someone. I find real comforting and healing.
My challenge today is to learn how to forgive, accept, and love those who have hurt me, rejected me, and judged me the most...The Good Republican Christians. And the truth is, there are days when I have no idea how to do that. But, I don't want to carry the dead carcass of unforgiveness around on my back.
My counsellor said the best way to forgive is to accept. Accept that it happened. Accept that I can't change the past. When I let myself think about this, it is so clear to me, but then I let myself slip off that realization and fall to what I hate most.
Without love I am bankrupt, and forgiving Christians is not exempt from that. I don't want to harm with my judgment and yet I do. There is only one hope for me to do that impossible thing, and that is the good man Jesus.
Jesus, only you have what I need to do this. I am empty. Please fill me.