The third of five parts beginning on June 23, 2005The Wounds of Judgmentâ€œâ€¦But you, why do you judge your brother? Or again, why do you regard your brother with contempt?â€
~~Paul, the Apostle
The cabinetmaker surveyed our kitchen. He tapped the wall here, checked the plumbing there. Then he took a measuring tape from his pocket, measured a length, replaced the tape, jotted down the measurement on a little note pad, took the tape from his pocket and repeated the process. Measure. Take note. Measure again.
Beware the brethren who carry a ruler in their pocket! Such a tool is the craftsmanâ€™s equipment, not the instrument of fellowship. Critical spirits have secret standards. They evaluate. Quality control is their specialty. Do you measure up? Do I? As we wonder, we are ever focused on ourselves and, often, we seek relief from judgment by hiding ourselves from our judges whoever they may be. The one who feels judgment withdraws. The one with the ruler in his pocket feels rejected and isolated. Defensiveness divides the church.
Jesus chose the company of substandard human beings. He knew what they ought to be, but accepted them where they were. In relationships, faith means accepting people where they are. It should be left to Jesus to grieve (though I doubt He does) over where they ought to be. We are to rejoice (with Jesus, I think) over where they will be. As Paul showed by his example, we are to refuse judgment, and instead, offer a gift: the confidence that He who began a good work in our brethren will be faithful to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus. In our woundedness we are to have this confidence in the wounded. This is the life of the church.