Judging Away From Jesus

When I meet someone new today I find myself falling back into old patters sizing them up- trying to press them into one of my boxes so I can understand them. What do they value? What do they believe? Are they enough like me to understand and be understood by?
And then most of the time I snap out of it- realizing it’s the old way.
I remember that everything I see in daily encounters with others, their online post, our brief conversations is just a snippet of the whole. It’s just the edited version of the person presented for my easy consumption, but it’s not in any way the whole person. If I judge them based on this fragmented polished input I’m  sure to get it wrong. If I operate this way I’ll never know anyone.
As a Christian I have a set of strong standards based on the Bible and I hold them high … I should. But, how insane is it to expect everyone to have these same standards to judge them based on what I believe (even though I believe what I believe is the absolute truth)?
Am I willing to judge people away from Jesus?
When I judge I can never hope to get started with the Jesus stuff. No one will listen to me- feeling judged. AND when I’m in constant judgement of others aren’t I actually trying to be God? Isn’t judgement part of his work?
Now I know what you are thinking, my Christian friends, perhaps you are saying…”yes but there is truth and we have to stand up for it.” I could not agree more. But, you have to be invited into the truth space with someone before you can even hope they’ll hear it.  That invitation is only the product of deep, trusted, judgement free relationship.
If “we Christians” want to reach people we have to start with love, understanding (and I’m not saying the anything goes understanding) I’m talking about trying to meet people where they are at. How do they feel? What is really going on? How did they get “that way?”
Sadly, for inpatients like me this takes time.
If I’m more honest it takes much self-control. I want to yell what I believe out loud aggressively I want to bully people into seeing truth shake them by the shoulder and say “you’ve got it wrong…come over here it’s better.” It feels good for me to judge. I temporarily feel superior
but the hangover is brutal, gross, disgusting and it destroys any hope of helping others know Jesus.

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