The window or the mirror

I want to write about judging.

I want to write without being judgmental.

I create examples of extreme finickiness and then think, “but isn’t that being judgmental, reflecting my own bias against finickiness?”

And I am convicted. And I save the post and start over.

Because Jesus says that the standard that I use to critique you is the one that will be used by God to examine me.

The temptation, of course, is to be incredibly accepting in hopes that God will be accepting of me. “If I don’t criticize laziness, he’ll accept my laziness.” “If I don’t criticize anger, he’ll let me be angry.”

Unfortunately, that approach is backwards. It assumes that I can somehow trick God.

The better approach is to start the judging with me.

“God tells me not to be angry.” “God tells me to be loving.” “God tells me to be gentle.”

There is a place for identifying injustice, for proclaiming freedom for captives. That process, mentioned often, involves making judgments about acceptable and unacceptable behavior. But the starting place for such judgments is always in the mirror, rather than in the window.

Before I talk about your lies, for example, have I been honest with God and myself about my motives for pointing out your lies, about my actions in reporting to my professor that I had read the religious ethics book that I hadn’t read, about my unwillingness to be honest about why work isn’t getting done, about the wedding ceremony income that I didn’t bother to report to the IRS in 2004, about the amount of time that it really takes to do projects, about…?

Have I been honest with God?

Then, having been honest with God, will I be likely to judge or be more likely to invite you to freedom?