image1Let’s be honest, fellow USA’ers, we just don’t like to think that much. Television, sports, shopping, alcohol, marijuana all may be well and good in moderation (even the Bible commands the Israelites to get trashed occasionally), but in regularity they’re just mental escapes that distract us from exploring the deeper realms of life.

I like to have people in my life who challenge me both intellectually and spiritually. Too often, our knowledge intake and social interactions are just games of self-affirmation. We surround ourselves with people who think, live, and believe like us, so that we can continue to comfortably think, live, and believe in a way that makes us feel affirmed and secure. It’s from a fear of “outsiders” off-setting our way of life. If someone challenges one of our core beliefs in any way, we tend to immediately throw up a wall and become defensive (I wrote about this in the post: Enlightened Regression). However, our defensiveness is really serving to expose our uncertainty about our belief, or the viability of the belief itself.

It’s much more healthy to be surrounded by people who challenge us in ways that push us toward deeper self-examination, even in the small things.

“I think it’s incredibly stupid. I just don’t presume to know what a person is going through at any given moment to make them do certain things. So, I try not to judge.” -Kacie Houck

The statement caught me off guard. During this conversation I had fallen into a mindset which I absolutely hate: Defining people by their actions.

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.” -Matthew 7:1-2

It’s easy to get cynical. It’s easy to group all people into categories and pretend like we know their motivations or story in a way that allows us to pronounce judgement. Although this practice tends to be rampant particularly in church communities and the political arena, this isn’t something in which true followers of Christ are permitted to engage. This pronouncing of judgement is seen as so egregious, Jesus warns that we will be judged with the harshness of our judgements toward others. It falls into a pattern that is woven throughout Scripture:

Forgive, then you are forgiven… Give, then you will receive… Judge not, or you will be judged.

These are core tenets of Christianity, but too often are just tossed to the side. We don’t know the whole story of what may cause a person to react or respond the way they do, and we don’t know what a person has had to overcome along the way. We simply don’t know the the full story. I certainly don’t want people to judge me by my worst moments… none of us do.

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