No Judgement Zone
Matthew 7:2 You will be judged in the same way you judge others.
I was recently talking with an old friends who has left church—in fact he tells me he is glad to no longer be part of a religious expression. Knowing that he was formerly very involved in his faith and even pastored a church for a time, I was curious about his departure from religious life. He very openly shared that he had gone through some very tough life circumstances where he felt harshly judged by the very church he worshipped in for many years. It turns out that the very ones who he thought would be most helpful and compassionate ended up hurting him most deeply. I hope my friend will find his way to healing—and be able forgive or get past those who may have bowled him over instead of building him up.
I was visiting a Planet Fitness in Carlisle last week and inside the gym there was a large mural that read “No Judgment Zone.” Apparently churches or religious groups where righteous people gather aren’t the only places where broken sinners can sometimes feel judged. Perhaps the overweight or out of shape one—the one who is just getting back into a fitness routine also needs to know that their local gym is a place of acceptance and affirmation. A no judgment zone.
I heard some advise being given—advise on becoming more accepting and less prone toward judgment or criticism. The advise involved two exhortations. One is we need to be aware of people’s past—to know their story more fully before assessing their character or predicament. And the second is to realize that God is not nearly complete in His work with any of us. We are all still a work in progress.
If we are prone to condemn of judge a man for stumbling this morning, perhaps we must know the blows he took yesterday. We must not assess one who walks with a limp, without realizing the stone or the tack in their shoe. Let us be slow to mock the fear in another’s eyes, without knowing the parenthetical stones they have ducked or the darts they have dodged. Are they too loud? Perhaps they fear being neglected again. Are they too timid? Perhaps they fear failing yet again. Too slow? Perhaps they fell the last time they hurried. You simply don’t know. Only one who has followed and known yesterday’s steps can be their judge.
Not only are we generally ignorant about a person’s yesterdays, we are so very uninformed about their tomorrow. We dare not judge a book while its pages are yet unwritten? Should we pass a verdict on a painting while the artist still holds the brush? How can we dismiss a soul until God’s work is complete and His patience exhausted. Speaking of God’s work—we have been given a glorious promise in Christ.
Philippians 1:6 I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it one to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. The Word of the Lord!