Tuesday, August 28, 2012

In Which I Feel Like a Hypocrite

There have been a couple of things bugging me lately. One is minor, it's pesky, it's annoying more than anything. The other is something that I feel speaks strongly of my heart.

The minor, pesky one is that lately words have not seemed like enough. Words don't express things fully enough. I cannot explain, to myself, to my satisfaction what I mean. This is likely to be something that, while never really going away, will soon fade back into the background of my attention. That's one of the problems with fighting depression. Words aren't adequate enough.

The major thing is the one I really want to write about tonight.

I apologize in advance. Mostly because I'm about to do what I'm about to complain about. I hate that. I don't like being a hypocrite. My only salvation for myself is that I'm not complaining about anyone in particular, but the perception of the whole. This does not satisfy me though.

My biggest problem with Christians, or at least how Christians are perceived (even by other Christians) is that Christians are, in general, a group that judges people (especially other Christians). I say that feeling like I'm being a hypocrite, because I'm judging Christians when I say that. I recognize the irony of judging their judgment. And I recognize this puts me into the group of people that I'm judging.

Anyway, my problem is that the Bible tells us to "Judge not, lest you be judged" (Matthew 7:1). We aren't supposed to accept sin in our churches, but we are supposed to accept the sinners. Somewhere, most Christians seem to lose that. We stop condemning the sin and start condemning the sinner. I'm not saying that people aren't capable of messing up. I mess up most days. I'm just saying that I don't have a right to tell someone that they are going to hell because I disagree with what they are doing (unless I'm trying to save them, I probably shouldn't be telling them that they are going to hell anyway).

It seems to me that this judging goes on in pretty much every area of people's lives. Who am I to tell someone what they can wear? Who am I to tell them what they can eat? Who am I to tell them who they can love? Who am I to tell them how they can love?

I know there are scriptures that cover at least some of those things. But it's not up to me to "enforce" those scriptures. As long as I live my life by what I learn from my Bible, I have no reason to tell someone else how to live theirs. At least, that seems what "Judge not" means to me. I am not their judge, God is. That means that I don't get to tell them how to live. Nicely, it also means they don't get to tell me how to live. Things are convenient that way.

I may not like my sister's tattoos or piercings, but that doesn't mean I should say that she's ugly (I don't like them, at least not the piercings. She's not ugly.). I may be able to prove that God thinks tattoos are ugly (I don't really care to try). That doesn't mean I should.

I may think that the kid on the next aisle should be in bed when I'm shopping at 11 pm. I may not be impressed that he's got a bottle of soda and is screaming at the top of his lungs. I may have lots of scripture on how kids should be raised. It doesn't mean I should judge that kid's parents. I don't know their lives. I don't know if this is normal or odd for their family. I shouldn't judge I don't have all the facts.

I may think that it's wrong for two men or two women to be in a relationship. I may have scripture to back up how wrong it is. I may think they are sinning. But that does not mean I should judge.

God didn't die and make me judge. I have no right to tell anyone (except maybe Ace and at some point our children) how to live. I have no right to tell anyone they are going to hell because they kiss someone of the wrong gender, have a tattoo, are a bad parent, or even just that they mess up. I HAVE NO RIGHT TO DO THAT.

And I have no right to judge Christians as judgmental. I HAVE NO RIGHT.

If I don't have that right, what makes someone else think they do?
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