Friday, May 18, 2012

Okay, I Confess...

I love this quote by Henri Nouwen. 
It is so true. 
So real. 
And certainly worth taking to heart in every way.

"In a world that asks us to make up our minds about other people, a nonjudgmental presence seems nearly impossible. But it is one of the most beautiful fruits of a deep spiritual life and will be easily recognized constantly by those who long for reconciliation." Henri Nouwen 

Having a judgmental attitude about others is something that I have been very conscious of in my own life. 
I don't want to be one who is quick to judge...especially when I don't know all there is to know about a person or a situation. 
When it is necessary to judge, I want to use the same ruler that I would choose to be judged with. 

I want my judgments to be fair and accurate and certainly Biblical and Christlike...which brings me to issue that I have been pondering in my own life. 
I confess. I repent. 
I will change my attitude and behavior. I must!

You might be surprised to learn "the issue" at the core of my confession. 
It isn't blatant sin as you might imagine... I'm perfectly content to leave that judgment to God. 
You probably won't find a scriptural basis for it. (I can't anyway.)

You see, I am quick to judge people who do not appear to be friendly.

  • The ones who walk toward you down a hall and look at the wall rather than at you.
  • Those who only speak if you force them to by speaking to them and waiting for a response.
  • And then they respond with little more than a grunt.
  • The ones who seem to have no smiles within them.

And what is with the grumpy one who demands without a "please" or a "thank you." And has nothing kind to say about anything or anyone.

Here's the heart of the issue for me and it is what I'm coming to grips with... I have expectations. 
And, when my expectations aren't met I have a propensity to judge! 

  • I expect friendliness.
  • I expect a smile and a friendly greeting.
  • I expect to be looked in the eye.
  • I expect consistency... I don't want to wonder from one day to the next if you are going to smile and be friendly or growl and look somewhere else! 
  • I expect people to use their manners and be polite and show respect for all. 
Good Grief! Whose world do I think I am living in? 
                     (My children refer to it as "Debbyland.")

So, just because....
I rarely, if ever, do grumpy.
I don't raise my voice in anger. Ever.
I don't take out my frustration on anyone else. 
I am not temperamental. 
I certainly need to remember that my rush to judge those who don't meet MY EXPECTATIONS is certainly as much a sin as any other! 
All my "goodness" is as filthy rags if I am meeting others with harsh judgment! LORD, forgive me!

Rather than walking away from that demanding, grumpy man I should have served him just like I would have served Jesus.

Instead of telling my daughter, "I'm not impressed!" when she introduced me to a well-known Pennsylvania political commentator and he brushed me off... Well, it's not his job to impress me, is it?

And haven't I pretty much "brushed off" my not so friendly new neighbor, rather than trying to win her with kindness? 
And, regardless of how others treat me, well, I know I'm responsible for my behavior-NOT ANYONE else's. Obviously, the only one I have any right to expect anything from is myself. 

So, I confess and I repent and I determine to release others from my expectations.
And I will be all about that "beautiful fruits of a deep spiritual life!"                   So help me GOD!