Yes, I'm well aware of the irony.
I'm judging people for being judgemental. And legalistic. I'd prefer if they followed my "rules for life". But that's the pickle. If grace were so easy and natural, people who walk in suspicion and fear wouldn't make me angry. They would make compassion rise in me, and I'd want to contribute to their lives in such a way to show how much easier JOY is to walk in. Instead, my base nature wants to turn their very tools against them and throw defiance and rebellion at them. But isn't that what they are afraid of? Isn't that fulfilling their prophesies that people are not to be trusted and that stringent guidelines and avoidance of punishment is our only hope? How comfortable am I to give respect to people who I don't believe deserve it?
Its trendier now for people of faith to be gracious to people on the "fringe". Maybe those with a different sexual orientation. Maybe with a shadey past; a recovering drug addict; or a prostitute. But its waaaay harder to be kind and gracious to people who think they have all the answers for me, and view my parenting, my lifestyle, and my faith with squinted eyes. Who want to correct me. Who want to condemn me.
Its ironic to recognize how badly I want to correct them.
I may be wrong, but it seems that Jesus had some of the same struggles. It was the religious leaders who really got his goat and seemed to make him crazy. I never heard Jesus call a prostitute or a robber a "brood of vipers", but he reserved that for the religious men, the money changers in the temple, and the self-righteous who seem to surface in every time, in every culture. Not that it would be wise to use that as justification for my disdain for that small number of cross volunteers who parol our local thrift shop. And its important to clarify that there are at least as many sunny, helpful, joyful volunteers in the very same facility.
But if I've learned anything in my first forty years, its that you can change no one.
Well, except for yourself. And that only by the power of the Maker. So, I guess I'll sign up for some changes. The angry judgementalism in me is what annoys me in others, so back to the workshop to learn more of planks and splinters.
Care to join me?