Traveled back to Indiana yesterday and have enjoyed spending today with our daughter. Went to church with her, had lunch in her apartment and now we're sitting here and all three of us are on our computers :-) The daughter's taking two classes this summer, marketing (easy, she says) and Spanish (hard but handling it so far). She's studying this afternoon and just informed us that we are viejo. Yep, she's handling it just fine.
I want to share something we studied in Sunday School. But by way of explanation I want to go back to Friday evening when we were still at the parsonage and a couple of the young men from church dropped by. The guys got into a discussion of how we handle our conversation with people who do not speak the truth. One of the young men said we (as in Protestants in a historical sense) haven't always done this well. We immediately pounce and start expounding, often leaving the erring, sometimes just clueless, one reeling from our judgmental and *ahem* condemning tirade. And we all know how well that goes over and how "persuasive" are our arguments. His point was that if we'd just wait a while, allowing the relationship to develop to the point where the other person values and welcomes our input, we would be more effective. Someone else said we look at people more as projects than as individuals who need the Lord.
So fast forward to today in Sunday School when we talked about Romans 14. Well actually from midway through chapter 13 to midway through 15. But chapter 14 was the crux of the passage. And the upshot is that we are so quick to judge based on our upbringing or tradition rather than going strictly by Scripture. And the reason we started out in 13:8 was to bring home the basic truth that LOVE should take precedence over disputable matters. For me the key verse in this passage is 14:13 "Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way."
All this to say: I have often been guilty of passing judgment and too often I have been vocal in my disapproval. But by God's grace I'm learning to change that. But it ain't easy! My first inclination is to pounce. I mean, what if they can't see and they just need someone to point out the error of their ways?! Why then, telling them is the truly Christian thing to do, isn't it? Or at least that's how I've rationalized it in the past.
But you know what? God is showing me that to be like Him is to be gracious. To be like Him is to be loving even with unlovable people. And to leave the judging up to Him. We need to be concerned about our own actions and attitudes and, if y'all are anything like me, I've got enough on my plate without adding other folks' stuff to the mix! So if I start sounding high and mighty at any point, remind me of this. Okay?