It happens faster than I realize. A split second is all it takes to make one. It can ruin a developing relationship, quench a lifelong desire and drive an isolated and lonely soul further into the abyss. Judgment. We all make judgements. But this Lenten season, I want to do something radical or out-of-the-box. I want to give up judgment for Lent.
Personal history influences my judgment in complicated ways. Certain prejudices were part of my family of origin. I learned to laugh at certain jokes or make dismissive decisions about people who were different than me. It is so tempting to reject someone based on their beliefs, appearance, social status or physical abilities. What's so astonishing is how quickly I disregard someone or something based on my own assumptions. That's why I think God wanted me to do something about it.
For the next forty days, I want to learn how to stop my automatic judgment response and replace it with something God-honoring, like grace. All too often, I find myself sizing someone up far too quickly. The human mind is a very complex system that I know very little about. It connects memories, emotions and physiological responses that very intelligent people devote their entire careers trying to comprehend. What I do know is the damage I can inflict on myself and others when I make a misguided judgment.
While we're being honest with each other, here's another confession. I can be harder on myself than I need to be. I can be my own worst critic. I tend to judge myself on my performance not who I am in Christ. I need to stop judging myself by some ridiculous perfectionist standard that I have in my mind. Because I can be far more grace-filled with others than I am with myself.
So, I challenge you to join me during the forty days of Lent as I learn how I can give up judgment. Maybe we can all take Jesus' words to heart and further his kingdom not only in our world but within our own heart.
“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you." Matthew 7:1-2 NASB