In our series this weekend we’re talking about Jesus’ statement, “Judge not, or you too will be judged.” I need your help once again.
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you felt like you were being judged by someone? Or, do you ever find yourself being judgmental toward others?
This is going to sound crazy, BUT, I find it increasingly challenging to tell people that I am a Pastor these days. It’s like they make this automatic judgment that I’m going to be judgmental towards them–ouch.
I was flying into Akron/Canton a couple of weeks ago and the guy sitting beside me asked what I did for a living. I told him that I was a teacher (I didn’t want the automatic walls to go up). I kid you not, he said, “Oh, I thought you were a Pastor.” “Ummm, actually I am.”
I’m not at all embarassed by what I do, I just hate the way the conversation shifts and the way people change their behavior when they make judgments about what it means for me to be a Pastor. Know what I mean?
I can see that, honestly. I probably would act differently if I knew I was sitting beside a pastor on a plane, too.
Interesting that this gentleman assumed you were a pastor before you told him, though!
I’ve watched people treat pastors differently my entire life. There’s some mystery about someone who has dedicated their life to full time ministry and some find that intimidating, and yet I’ve known believers for years who were involved full time ministry, but were not technically a pastor so they get a free pass. Personally, I’ve always just thought pastors were normal people with a different role to play, just like lawyers, doctors, construction workers, etc.
On the flip side, I’ve noticed, since I work in the IT world, supporting printers, that everyone thinks I’m a printer expert, for every printer ever made or yet to be made. ;-)
As far as judgment goes, I try very hard not to judge people, and even when they do something objectionable I try to understand that something in their life’s experience has contributed to them acting that way. It’s seldom easy, especially if the objectionable act was directed at or has affected me.
Over the last year or so I’ve experienced a lot of judgment. You see, I was a Christian for 20 years, and had a crisis of faith in early 2008 and found myself no longer experiencing anything that I could recognize as God. Thus I became a reluctant agnostic atheist, because I wanted to be honest about my disbelief with those I cared about.
Fortunately, my friends and family were very loving and accepting, I only had a few friends who were angry and upset, one of whom felt that my de-conversion had some bearing on their faith.
Since then I’ve become much more understanding of others who have de-converted and have had some who claim to be Christ followers accuse me of all sorts of horrible things. Nothing like being called a rebrobate to get your day going. I still really dig a lot of what Jesus had to say and it bugs me when people use him as an excuse to hate, because, as you know, that’s totally contrary to what he was all about.
Most of my oldest friends are wonderful, loving Christians who live out a vibrant faith. The interesting thing is that my life is very similar to what it was like before de-converting. I still love people, always have since I was a little kid, I still experience wonder and joy. After the initial shock of acknowledging my loss of faith, and the awful emotional roller coaster of seeking God that led up to it, I became very content in knowing that the world was no less wondrous and people were no less kind and in need of kindness.
Will I see God again some day? Honestly I have no idea. Several have asked me what I would require to believe in God again, and my response is “If I knew that, I’d still be believing in God.” If God exists then surely he must know what I need.
The important part to me about Matthew 7: 1-2 is the qualifying statement that is verse 2 “For you will be treated as you treat others.The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.” it really ties into the golden rule of treating others as you would want to be treated.
Sorry for the long comment, but apparently I had a lot to say. ;-)
Have a good weekend, it looks like it’s going to be a soggy one.
My husband and I are pursuing an international adoption. Ever since we began this process, we feel like we’re being judged.
First, it was by friends and family, many of whom did not understand our decision. Many first assumed that we must be adopting because of infertility, which is not the reason. They struggle to understand why a couple would choose to adopt before trying to have biological children. And sometimes they say absolutely horrible things, such as whether there is a “return period” in case we don’t like the child, “why buy a kid when you can have one for free” or use racial slurs to describe the child we’re hoping to adopt.
Then some of the people judge you by saying we’re these incredible people for wanting to adopt. I know it’s meant to be a compliment, but I feel like they’re holding us up to a higher standard. Just because the child we parent is adopted doesn’t make us any better or worse parents than any one else.
Then you have to complete a homestudy where a social worker comes and judges whether you will be good parents. So you spend three hours convincing this person you’ll be absolutely the best parent ever.
Finally you have to tell co-workers and acquaintances, who sometimes really struggle to understand your decision. And sometimes telling people with no faith in their life that you’re adopting because you feel led by God is very hard and they look at you funny.
And for the most part, no one is excited like if you tell them you’re pregnant. The reaction tends to be way more subdued.
It’s tough, because instead of being really excited to tell people we’re adopting, you’re cautious and you wait to hear what they’ll say next… or sometimes you hear through another person what they really think.
Thanks for your honesty.
Having been through the whole adoption process–to some extent–I understand what you’re dealing with.
IT IS WORTH IT!!!
Really proud of you for caring for children at risk.
You’re welcome, Greg. I’ve always liked you and feel like you are someone who really does live their faith instead of only preaching it.
As to adoption, I see it as a wonderful thing simply because there are so many children who would love a good home, some desperately needing a good home.
The thought of “returning” a child who you’ve adopted just makes me want to cry. I’ve seen it happen once, and I could never look at the person who sent the child back the same again.
To the “Anonymous Adopters – Way to go! My niece and her husband adopted a baby girl from eastern Europe and she is a lovely girl. I hope you are aware that there may be some problems relating to the child’s life experiences prior to the adoption that spill into your lives after the adoption. And I would encourage you to seek out an adoption parents support group to find out what some of those problems could be and how difficult they might be and how to deal with the child so you can all get through them successfully.
Greg, (regarding paragraph 1 on stating you were a teacher )
cut it out.. say who you are then live it out.. stop messing around..
I teach high school sophomores and when we read the required books (The Five People You Meet in Heaven, To Kill A Mockingbird, Flowers For Algernon, Bleachers, and Romeo and Juliet to name a few) the topic of judgement always comes up. I ask students during discussion if they believe that they judge others. It always astounds me to hear most of them claim that they don’t judge others, while the reality is that I watch them do it all the time! It’s like they know that judgement of that kind is wrong and they don’t want to fess up to being guilty of it, but when the specific question isn’t being posed and they’re acting with guard down, it’s everywhere. I think most of them don’t even realize they’re doing it, which Pastor Al mentioned. Once we talk more about it, most of them start to realize. The good thing, besides that maybe it helps some of them to be more careful about it, is that it also helps me to recognize it in myself and it makes me more careful about not judging.