We Cannot Judge and Love

Today the United States made gay marriage legal. A judge in the Supreme Court held the deciding vote. People celebrated. Other people mourned. It's a day that I don't want to label myself a "Christian". My love for Jesus still grows and my transformation by His Spirit still continues. I actually walk in the Spirit more than I ever have. But the word "Christian" makes me shake my head today. I hate being associated with a self-righteous people who believe our country was ever a haven of salvation. They weep and mourn over the changing laws of the land. Don't they see that God has allowed this? We are to obey those in authority and live in peace with all men. Will we now become criminals to salvage our precious American ideals? Will we now raise our own personal gavel and bring it down to our own destruction?

God is the only Being that can judge and love at the same time. As humans we make assessments, draw conclusions, and finally decide how to respond to each person we meet. As soon as this discernment becomes a judgment we run into major trouble.

The word "judge" comes from this origin, according to Google: from Latin judexjudic-, from jus ‘law’ + dicere ‘to say.’ That would lead me to conclude that a judge decides what is right and wrong and makes the laws of the land accordingly. It's very risky business deciding for ourselves what is right and wrong. As I recall, there was a tree that gave this power to us once.

Adam and Eve's eyes were opened and they saw... themselves and each other. Suddenly they felt the urge to cover themselves, ashamed. Were they also feeling vulnerable or maybe a little disappointed? Did Adam look at Eve and say, "I judge you to be... not right. You should cover up." or perhaps Eve looked at Adam and said, "I judge you to be... wrong. You should cover yourself." Of course, we are our worst critic. Maybe they decided they didn't like the look of themselves. Or were they simply just terrified of God? Maybe they were scared He would see the truth about them; that which He already knew.

God came walking through the garden in the cool of the day. He was longing for His creation; looking for them. With His love He came and judged. He pronounced His righteous sentence and told of the way He would rescue them from it. That is the way Righteousness judges and loves at the same time. We do not have that ability, even as regenerate believers. Only God the Father can judge.

James 4:12 says, "There is only one lawgiver and judge, He who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?" Yes, who are we? Standing with our fig leaves drooping, one hand holding it up and the other pointing at another sinner's brokenness and condemning them in our hearts.

No one is asking Christians to be gay. No one is asking them to deny their Lord. Yes, brokenness is everywhere. I'm sad for couples of all kinds that suffer from sins of all kinds. What some people call "marriage" another person calls an abomination. Who cares what other people do? If your plank is bothering you, pull it out!

Which tree are you eating from today? Will you taste and see that the Lord is good and eat from the Tree of Life which is Jesus Christ? Or will you take up the bitter fruit of your fallen nature and judge for yourself what is right and wrong? My prayer is that you let God do the judging. He along knows all things, including every gay person's heart. Live at peace among all men and women. PEACE. For God's sake and your own. Hebrews 12:14 (and several other passages say similar things)  Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.

I'd rather eat with "sinners" than be counted among the self-righteous. Choose peace and leave the judging up to God.


I Love My Job

Lately I've had many reasons to assess my current position here at work. Is this career choice a good one for me? Do I excel at what I do? Is my work ethic applied daily? Is there a healthy amount of accountability and team support? What about the benefits package? When all is told, am I investing my time wisely and contributing to the greater good? There are so many things to consider.

I started here at this job over seven years ago. The job I had before this was relatively easy; a customer service job with predictable hours. All of my other jobs had predictable hours, actually. This one is on-call 24/7 but my scheduled hours are 6:30am-8:30pm, seven days a week. With almost a hundred scheduled hours a week and my "off" hours being on-call, I'd say this is the most I've ever worked in my life.

I have three "bosses". Sometimes they disagree on the best use of my time, especially the two older ones. The youngest one is the most demanding, but that's to be expected since she's new to the game and she has to make her presence known. None of them really know what they are doing. Luckily they can't fire me since their Boss is the one that hired me to begin with. But they sure do try to push me around! And my job is not to obey them but to meet their needs, even if they don't realize what those needs are.

The Big Boss hired me after minimal experience. He said He would give me on-the-job training and that He believed in my potential. I capitalize His pronoun because He's God. Believe it or not, God pays well. He meets all of my needs and challenges me daily. When He told me that I'd be working for children I laughed out loud! It was a hard adjustment in my thinking to stop working for myself or for money. I always thought we worked for a paycheck and then spent the money on our dreams. It's the American Way, right? God's economy is very different.

My paychecks come daily. But I get them while I work. All I have to do is walk correctly and I get a bigger paycheck every day. Instead of money, the payment is fruit. I get paid in order to produce more fruit. My work is to allow fruit to grow on me and my little "bosses" collect the harvest.

The most important part of my job is rest. Not the kind of rest that kicks up her feet and rests her eyelids (although, I need that sometimes, Lord knows). But the kind of rest that trusts and moves fluidly under the movements of something Bigger. It's like a dolphin swimming in the wake of a boat or a caterpillar that lets itself become a chrysalis upon a twig. They comfortably engage in their purpose and trust the supporting movements of what holds them. When I rest like that, that's when He pays me the big bucks.

I can say confidently that I love my job because my job is love. I'm a mom. This is the best way I can ever invest the time I've been given.


The Tar Baby of the Rogue Thought

For almost six years I haven't seen a rated R movie. The last one I attempted was the most recent Rambo. I did it to try and bond with my husband all those years ago. I'll never forget the scene where a village was attacked by a raiding army of ruthless killers. I couldn't hide my horror or my emotional reaction to what I saw. My oldest child was only a year old at the time and the brutality was too drastic of a contrast to the sweetness I'd absorbed all day from her. The next time I held her I saw an image from that scene flash through my mind. It assaulted the peace of a motherly embrace. It was then that I decided to cleanse my mind by carefully choosing what I looked at. No rogue thoughts would pull me from my beautiful moments with my kids.

Well, now I'm a lightweight. I saw the most recent Hobbit movie finally (PG-13) and the dragon made my blood turn cold. Those CGI people are getting really good at recreating evil, aren't they? For a second I thought they couldn't make a dragon look anything but really cool and awe-inspiring. No, they made the thing exactly as the book described it, terrifyingly evil. I was surprised at my gut reaction. This is coming from a girl who started reading Stephen King in eighth grade. Horror was my thing. Now I just want to be entertained when I watch a movie. Don't taint my thought-life, please. I still managed to enjoy the Hobbit's conclusive movie, though, even if I was a little traumatized.

So, the rogue thought. Any distraction from God's best is temptation. There will be times when I need to think about dark realities, but I don't go seeking them anymore. Unfortunately there is still stored junk in my memory banks from my existence before Christ's work in my life. Occasionally I get slapped across the brain with them. But I'm writing this blog because I am developing a strategy to avoid them.

A parallel that came to mind when I thought about how entangling rogue thoughts can be is from a book I read as a small child. It was a story called Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby. I know that some people have called it racist to mention that story, but I happen to know it isn't about that at all. The story was written long ago by a black man named Uncle Remus. All I remember personally, though, is the Disney version with the pictures of the cute and shiny little tar baby cheeks.

I also remember being really freaked out by Brer Rabbit who appeared friendly to the stranger at first but who shortly after puts his fist into the face of what is being called a "baby". Of course it was made of tar, so it was a trap for him. But he was talking to it one second, then when it doesn't respond he punches the thing! What? I'm sure glad nobody does that to my baby! Glad for them because they'd really regret it. Anyway, the rabbit gets all tangled up in tar and then Brer Fox comes along and gets conned into setting him free.

For some reason I am associating my possible A.D.D. with a Tar Baby. I can't do anything about the fact that the distraction is laid in my path. But I can do something about how I respond to it. Ultimately, it's a trap. It looks friendly at first or at least interesting and when it turns out to be futile even focusing on it, I get mad at it! So here I am mad at myself for wasting my time and mad at this rogue thought that stole my attention. In goes the fist and then it's got me! It's all over me now. I'm stuck and wrapped up, ready for the enemy to have his way with my soul. I should have just kept on walkin'.

Rogue thoughts are placed like traps all along the path of life. Some of them even look like precious babies of importance that need to be taken care of. It's a dangerous place and I need my Guide at all times. When He keeps walking past what looks like something that needs to be taken care of, I need to follow Him. Nothing to see here. Perhaps with time I will be less distractible and more focused so I can fall more in love with the only holy object of my attention, Jesus Christ.