We make judgements about people all the time; it is what we do as humans. Every time we meet with someone or even walking down the street, we are constantly making judgments even if it is subconsciously. We judge what people wear, what they do, how they look, what they say or even what they eat or what car they drive.
As a church community, what percentage of people would you say are worried about how they will be perceived or judged each time they come to church? I actually think most of us carry a fear of judgment a lot of the time. Maybe you worry someone will judge you because of your past or your tattoos. Maybe you think someone will judge you because you don’t have much money. Maybe you worry someone will judge you because you have lots of money and that is how they see you. Perhaps you feel judged because of the way your kids behave or how you parent or how your family compares to others. You might feel judged as a single or as a single parent or as a divorcee. Maybe you feel you are not very good looking or maybe you feel judged because you are good looking but that is the only thing people see in you. You could feel judged for not singing, or for worshipping too freely.
The truth is poor people feel judged and rich people feel judged. Ordinary looking people feel judged and beautiful people feel judged. Both single and married mums feel judged, quite worshipers and expressive worshipers feel judged, and so it goes and so it goes. Men compare themselves to others in a whole raft of ways. I think deep down we all worry about something in who we are or how others see us or perceive us.
But the wonderful reality of the Gospel is that we are all made in the image of God and we all have equal status and worth in his family. We all are unique and loved deeply just as we are by our creator and saviour Jesus Christ. God loves you – the real you, just as you are and nothing will change that. If we could see ourselves in Christ as he sees us I think it would totally change our perspective of others and ourselves. Henri Nouwen wrote a prayer about being his true self:
“Take away the many fears, suspicions, and doubts by which I prevent you from being my Lord, and give me the courage and freedom to appear naked and vulnerable in the light of your presence, confident in your unfathomable mercy”.
Jesus in his ministry treated and saw everyone for who they were – dearly loved image bearers whom he came to save. It didn’t matter if they were rich or poor, wicked or good, slave or free, male or female, young or old, common or beautiful. He loved them and he loves and approaches us in the same way. So allow yourself to be loved and free before God and allow others to be loved and free that they might find their true selves in Christ. Then we will begin to have true communion as the body of Christ. Then we will testify to the world that God’s love is among us.
Grace and Peace - Garry