I recently attended a funeral for a friend of ours and I found out something about Bill I had never known before.
About 40 years ago his wife first accepted Christ and her transformation brought Bill to a place of decision in his own life. But after becoming a Christian, he became very judgemental of family and friends.
But, that all changed when one day he read a story from the Gospels.
In the account, the Pharisees brought to Jesus a woman caught in adultery. They asked Christ if she should be stoned for her sin according to the law of Moses.
“All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” – John 8:7 (NIV)
After reading this, Bill went into their backyard, picked up a stone and put it in his pocket.
He carried that stone with him for 38 years as a reminder that he had a sinful nature and could not cast the first stone of judgement. I can picture him grabbing that stone whenever he felt the urge to be harsh and judge someone.
Often, he showed his grandchildren the stone he had been carrying with him all those years and exhorted them to not be judgemental towards others. They were deeply impacted by this story and his life and some spoke of that stone at Bill’s funeral.
Jesus does not want us to judge and it was a theme Christ addressed several times;
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” (Matthew 7:1)
If I am honest, I find myself in the throes of judgement nearly every day. Lately, when I catch myself in judgemental mode and ready to cast a stone, I will stop and confess my thought “oh, I just judged her for her green hair.”
I love to walk and observe people along the way. Observing is fine but when I make a personal judgement about that person then I have gone beyond the boundaries that God has ordained. (If they have green hair they must be a drug addict.)
Confessing our thought breaks the pattern of judgement. Then, we can allow that person to show up just the way they are and accept them as another of God’s creation.
After hearing about Bill’s stone, I have even visualized myself with a stone in my hand and that was enough to shake me up and drop my judgement.
Like it or not, we all judge people. I am beginning to understand that acknowledging these thoughts instead of denying them is the first step to freeing myself from a judgemental attitude.
Sin is in everyone’s life but God loves everyone. Christ offers unconditional forgiveness to anyone who confesses their shortcomings and inability to meet God’s standards.
We are all rocking in the same sin boat. For the Bible says:
“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (God’s standards). “(Romans 3:23)