Did I mention that judging is one of my favorite activities!
I mean, really!
Gingers should never wear red, just saying!
And why do people pass tractor trailers on the highway going only 1 mile per hour faster than the truck?
Go back to Driver’s Education!
And if you’re a Patriot’s, Jet’s, or Dolphin’s fan, well…
It’s not so much that I am judging you…
Well, yeah, I am.
Judging others, particularly in our contemporary culture seems to be ubiquitous. We will say, “judge not lest ye be judged” right here from this versa, in the King James Version, but usually just after we have judged others and found them wanting.
We know what Jesus says, and for many of us we know how hurtful it is to be judged!
Yet, there we are.
And to be clear, there are times in life where we have a responsibility to evaluate others, like if you are a supervisor or a teacher.
And we may even need to be able to differentiate between good things and things that could hurt us or others.
But judgment implies much more than that.
Judging implies condemnation. Judge and jury!
It’s not just seeing what others are doing and taking note. It is deciding that others are bad for the choices they are making.
This is not about not committing murder. That one’s pretty clear. And we have given the judging responsibility to others so hopefully it will be adjudicated well.
No, this judging is all about me thinking that I am right, better, more moral, than another, even picking up a stone to cast at another, perhaps verbally or worse, while not caring that my own sins are glaring obvious to others; or worse, thinking I am not a sinner too!
Because I hide my sins so well. Or I have judged myself innocent.
Pharisee-ism is all about judging others while being unwilling or unable to see myself as the greater sinner.
I am not immune, because I dress better, because I have a bigger or better house, because well, at least I am married, don’t have tattoos, don’t drink to excess, all while cheating on my taxes.
Note that Jesus adds that we need to able to forgive others.
That in fact, in some way, our own forgiveness is dependent on our ability and willingness to forgive others.
That is not good news folks.
Because if we took that seriously, you and I, we would see we are all in trouble.
Remember last week when I said that some teachings of Jesus are really hard, like love your enemies. Hard, like go to a cross hard?
But here is the good news!
It turns out that hanging out with Jesus, following Jesus with all our heart, wanting to be like Jesus, who models forgiveness, who models not judging others, who invites us to follow and do as he does!
And who sends the Holy Spirit to be with us and in us!
And who understands when we try and fail.
Learning to be like Jesus is hard. But there is no better teacher!
Recently Sue has been teaching Noah to ride a bike, I know, crazy Nana stuff. You do realize that once he can ride - he will ride.
And I know some of you heard a little bit about our vacation up in Western New York, but did you hear that uncle Bruce taught Noah how to chop wood.
Gave him a hatchet and showed him a stump and let him try his best to cut up the stump.
Now you might think that’s a bad idea, and maybe it is.
But letting kids learn how to do dangerous things safely is truly an amazing thing.
In fact, great teachers do that all the time.
They let their students try and learn. Try and fail and learn. Try…
Which is exactly what the greatest teacher of all - is teaching us…
How to love people like God loves us.
Not to judge, but instead to see people as God does…
As his beloved children…
As our sisters and brothers.
So here is the challenge…
Don’t judge others. Amen.