A few weeks ago I had lunch with a woman I’ve known for many years. In the midst of our conversation, she mentioned she had been reading the obituaries the day before. In a sneering sort of tone; she said, “There was one where a woman was survived by her ‘wife.’” Then she clicked her tongue, to show her disdain for gay marriage.
Ignoring her comment, I changed the subject and went on with our lunch. But I honestly wanted to say. “Who are you to judge this woman and her spouse?” “How did their relationship change your life?” She probably wouldn’t have heard a word I said or would have got angry with me.
When did it happen that all of us got to the point where we feel it is our responsibility to decide how others should live their lives? Her clothes aren’t right. His tattoos offend me. No one should be allowed to have so many piercings. And that’s just about how people look! Many religious folks think they are the morality police condemning those who are divorced; or young women who have had a child outside of marriage. They never look beyond the situation itself. Did a woman leave her husband because it was an abusive situation? Was that pregnant teenager better off not getting married so young?
Jesus called us to be people of compassion. He never made anyone feel guilty for the life they lead. When the townspeople started to stone the adulteress woman he drew a line in the sand and challenged the people who had not sinned to throw the first stone. Amazingly they all left. How many times do we start to throw stones when we need just stop and think about our own lives?
One thing I’ve come to know is that life is more gray than black and white. If we live our lives with kindness and mercy toward others, we will be far happier. Rigidity and harshness do no one any good, especially if it is in the name of religion or morality. We need to move over and let the grace of God in.
Here are some questions for you to reflect on and possibly journal about:
- In what situations am I prone to judge others? Why do I feel it is my place to do it? Do I feel better about myself when I do it? How do I stop passing judgment?
- When I’m in a group and others are judging the people around us do I speak up that it’s wrong or do I join in?
- What can I do to follow Jesus in being more compassionate with others?