Monday, October 22, 2007

Splinters Hurt, but Planks Can Really Get In The Way

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?


Roo said...

yes i care
yes i will join you.

i'm so tired of reading things i agree with -- and then walking in the opposite direction.

my head and my heart are at war with each other.

Anonymous said...

Wow Joyce, that really spoke to me!

it's a gong show... said...

sign me up! i say the first "workshop" should be on the 10th of November at your place hee hee!

gloria said...

raises her hand also. was nice running into you today, even if we did rant some more.

Anonymous said...

This is very true Joyce. In fact, your post prompted combined with some Bible reading on rules and grace that my husband had been doing prompted our "church" this week--all about grace and the temptation to judge and to make rules about the way to judge in order to make judging easier. True grace doesn't play by the rules but is on a first come first serve and the first shall be last basis. :)

Judy said...


Why is it that I always have to give up what I am good at.

Answer me that.

Great post. The truth flows.

Nancy said...

I believe we are gracious with the "sinners" because they are not yet part of the body. When someone else's eye starts twitching it doesn't bother us. We notice it but aren't affected by it. But when our eye starts to twitch we are annoyed and perturbed and want it to stop. But if we are tempted to "gouge out the eye" we need to step back and realize that without that eye our vision would be hindered. Rather, we need to pray for the eye, for this is the only way the twitching will stop.
This is a lesson I am learning...