Friday, February 07, 2014

Judgment and Humility

In Sunday school a couple of weeks ago, Joe said that we often (and I'm paraphrasing) see the sin in someone else because it makes us feel superior.  We enjoy looking down at other people.

Henri Nouwen wrote
We always say again:  "What about him?  What about her?"  What Jesus says to us, as he said to Peter who wanted to know what would happen to John:  "What does it matter to you.  You are to follow me." (John 21:21-22)
How much time do we spend evaluating and judging other people?  What does that create in our heart?  What does that create in my heart?  I know it leaves me bitter and unhappy.  Is it because we think it makes us feel superior?

Nouwen goes on to say
God does not ask us to define our little niche in humanity over and against other people.   God's question is: "Are you reading the signs of your times as signs asking you to repent and be converted?"  What really counts is our willingness to let the immense sufferings of our brothers and sisters free us from all arrogance and from all judgments and condemnations and give us a heart as gentle and humble as the heart of Jesus.
The image we should have of humility isn't one of a sad dog who has been scolded so often that he's timid and obedient, out of fear of punishment, but instead, our vision of humility should be Christ, dying on a cross, not out of fear, but out of love.  He was humble in his obedience.

To have a heart as gentle and humble as Christ, as Nouwen phrases it, means first to repent, seeing our own sin, naming it and asking for forgiveness.  Then, out of the overwhelming love we experience from God, we can offer the same love and forgiveness to others - not arrogantly and not with judgment, but with love.

And that's easy to type, but hard to do.  May we all have grace.

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