I was thinking about that question….and actually I thought about it in reverse. If that even makes sense. (Well it does in my mind, sorry)
I was remembering encountering hypocritical, judgmental people in my life. Sometimes that gulp
was is even me. And I was thinking well, I don’t want to be remembered for being someone who judged people all the time, I want to be someone who was remembered for being as accepting as they could be and as loving as they could be.
if I have one, correction, m ake that one of my “hot buttons” is judging people. We all have at one time, or all do it. This is something though that I really am sensitive too and fight really hard not to do. Do I fail at times? I know I do. But, I continually try. That’s because I know what being judged feels like. I talked about that a while back.
I guess I’ve been thinking about it a little more because of spending time talking with our new friends that we’ve encountered at Finley Park. They are a mixed bunch of souls. I could put labels on them like the rest of society does regarding the homeless, however, I am trying to learn their names. Do I think that everything they are telling me is the absolute truth. Probably not. It’s not my place to be their judge. I’ve only been asked to show kindness and love.
You know everybody gets in a pit, and everybody’s pit is different. Guess what, you and I will be in a pit again or are already in one. It’s called life, it happens. And when you are in a pit, and don’t have hope, the last thing you want to hear is “you should do such and such” or “why are you doing that” or “you should know better”. Then there are the well meaning people who “throw tracts” down at you in the pit or tell you to “just go to church” while you are in the pit. “Bless their hearts”.
Sorry, that didn’t work for me, when I was in my pit long ago. It was the people who loved me for who I was, in spite of who I was. It was the people who didn’t give up on me, who stayed with me, didn’t ignore me, and walked beside me, listened and talked to me while I was in the pit. That didn’t mean they liked what I was doing. I never felt that they did. However, I did feel that they cared, respected me and loved me. Once I realized that they accepted and cared for me the way I was, then I was open to allowing God heal my heart again. (I didn’t realize it at the time that He was already healing it through the loving people around me).
Now I have a favorite passage of scripture that talks about the Judge, being judged, and being accepted.
1But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery.
Caught in adultery. That would mean in a state of undress. Exposed. Nothing hidden from anyone. I can just feel her shame, I can feel the heat on her cheeks. I also wonder why didn’t they bring the man? Wasn’t he just as much to blame? (That because when I usually am caught in any sin of mine, I usually want to bring people along with me. Look all the way back to Adam and Eve, “this woman you gave me”, “the serpent made me do it”. Ok, I’m digressing here on some other scriptures.) From the first time I really read this passage, I could feel the rejection and the ridicule of the public alienation of those around her. I could connect with that.
They made her stand before the group 4and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
So, they didn’t care about her at all. That’s why they didn’t bring the man. It was really just a trap for Jesus. Imagine how used she must have felt. Yes, she had responsibility for her actions, but still nobody likes to be a pawn.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
The Bible doesn’t say what Jesus wrote. The only place in the Bible that I can see where Jesus wrote and it doesn’t say what he wrote. I like though what my friend Rebecca had to say about this passage during one of her pits. Just substitute your name and birthday.
9At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.
The part of the passage that I don’t like comparing myself to is the people holding the stones. Yet, we have all been there. Holding our collective stones at one time or another. It is just the person in the circle has been different. The “sin” has been different. So, I try hard not to hold any stones in my hand. It is hard. Hard because we are all sinners.
Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
But back to the woman. Can’t you imagine she was peeking between her fingers while she was cowering there, as her accusers left one by one. And then she is left standing there with Jesus. Why does she stay? Because she knows she is guilty. Does that last bit of pride keep her there? Pride? Yes, even when
we know we are wrong I know I am wrong, we I stubbornly hold on. She knows here is one who can throw a stone. Will he?
10Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
11“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
Jesus knew the change of her heart. Would she sin again? Yes, because we are all sinners. Would she sin in that particular way? The Bible doesn’t say.
It just makes me love Jesus more when you know He loves you in the junk before you even admit the crap. Talk about acceptance and love.
I want to be remembered for helping people feel a piece of that.