When I Get Judgmental
Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. Revelations 2:5
I must confess that I find myself being quite judgmental on occasion. Recently, I was explaining to my wife my feelings towards a mutual acquaintance when realized that I felt that this person was irredeemable. She kindly reminded me that this individual needed to know Christ’s love and that we were in a position to show it to him. Sigh. You’re right. She didn’t have to say it – I was once that person that others thought was irredeemable. After my third big relapse, when life absolutely fell apart, there were those who encouraged my wife to leave me. I couldn’t blame them. I just couldn’t stop using drugs and every relapse was accompanied by progressively worse consequences.
I found my faith and recovery though. In abandoning my way for God’s, he saved me and radically transformed my life. In that transformation, I promised myself that I’d use the rest of my life to help others find faith and recovery. More than anyone else, I should be compassionate, merciful, and gracious. Yet, coming up on nine years of sobriety, I sometimes find myself being more than a little judgmental. What an idiot. He’ll never get it. Then, my wife must remind me – He needs Jesus too. Just like you did and still do. She’s right. How can I, who’s required so much grace, look down on the failures of anyone else? How dare I withhold God’s love. I have been, and continue to be, a consumer of God’s love, grace, and mercy. I’m in no position to regard anyone as irredeemable.
This seems to be Christ’s message to the Ephesians in today’s passage. In it, Jesus chastised them for abandoning the grace and love they once had. They’d been lost. Then, they’d been saved by Christ. They once shared Jesus’ love with those around them, but then they became judgmental and condescending. Truth is necessary, but when these Christians sacrificed love for truth, they became completely incompetent at reaching the world around them.
In today’s passage, Jesus prescribed the antidote to my judgmentalism. Remember therefore from where you have fallen. I must remind myself of where I once was. Once I was lost. Then Christ saved me from myself. I was once compassionate and gracious. Daily, I must remember that I need God as much today as I did in the disaster of 2014. I’m not perfect and it’s not up to me to decide who receives God’s love, grace, and mercy. He’s loved me and he saved me from myself, so now, it’s my job to love those whom he puts in my path.