Thursday, April 11, 2013

So easy to judge, so hard to love...

By Niki Turner

Do you ever have those "easy to judge" moments?

You know, those moments when every person you encounter is irritating, stupid, or just "pushes your buttons"? (All right, stop the holier-than-thou stuff and admit it... you don't love every one, all the time, with  the perfect love of Christ.)

Those judgmental moments in my own life are often triggered by visits to Walmart and while picking up my youngest child from school (mommy road-rage). Seriously... the dean of students came out at the beginning of the school year and explained the pick-up process to each of us. It's not complicated, so why does it seem like I am the only parent willing to comply?

It's SO easy to judge. SO easy to condemn and criticize.

After picking up the youngest at school Tuesday I had to make a Walmart run. Do you know what I mean by a Walmart run? A quickie trip to snatch up three or four things on our grocery lists that are cheaper at Walmart, as opposed to the double-cart stocking-up-for-the-apocalypse trips those of us with multiple teenage boys still at home are inclined to make.

Anyway... everyone at Walmart seemed to be operating in slow motion that day. Moving through the aisles with my under-loaded cart became eerily reminiscent of a video game quest with my fellow shoppers as obstacles to my goal.

I was halfway through the checkout line when I felt the Holy Ghost nudge me...
"Jesus loves these people. All of them."

My gaze flickered from face to face... the checkout girl, the obese person in line behind me driving the handicapped cart, the family in the aisle over with lots and lots of children and a card for food stamps, the uptight businessman stalled by a computer error in the self-checkout lane...

"I love them. Do you?"
All of a sudden, my aggravation and irritation ebbed away.
Jesus DIED for these people.
He loved them, each one of them, with all their faults and failings and  foolishness, so much He was willing to endure the cross for them so that they might live, might know Him, might enter into eternal life by faith.


No guarantees, no promises... just an abundant measure of hope and faith and love. Just a "might."

My prayer? That I might go through life, day to day, with that same attitude. Not expecting anything from those around me, not demanding their allegiance to my doctrine, not hoping they'll "come into the fold." Instead, going through the motions of my OWN life as though all those around me were already worthy, already included in the flock, already part of my own family, already chosen, already loved.

"This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.
God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.
Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person's failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him."
John 3:16-18 (from THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved.)


  1. My sis-in-law gave me for my birthday a silver ring that says "love them more" on it. When there are tough, mean, hard-to-love people in your life, you have to choose to love them. You also need to love them more because they are so wounded, and wounded animals are in pain.

    1. I love that, Gina. That WOULD be an excellent tattoo, I think. Especially put somewhere you would see see it all the time!

  2. My early AM comment evaporated. It wasn't worth the cybermolecule it was fauz printed on I guess...

    I have found that Walmart has become the new standard for judging a class of people. I think of this when I am judging the other shoppers and I look at myself in the mirror when I climb back in my truck after my trip to Walmart! "These are my people"

    I think when the chips are down, I'd be happy to have an army of Walmart shoppers on my team over a team made up any other large group I tend to judge. Like those who WON'T Shop at Walmart? ha ha.

    We've been talking a lot about the differences in society lately and I find that I can let the fact I'm now in a dwindling minority of people who share my values and roots also remind me that it's all about the one to one.

    I think the wounded at Walmart just don't bother to hide their pain as well as those at Starbucks.

    Gina, what an excellent phrase - for ring or tattoo? :)

  3. Ooh, great post, Niki. I can utterly relate to the high-school drop off chaos. And the shopping chaos... I probably tend to get more frustrated than I should with people.

    I love that passage from the Message.

    Thanks for this today! I needed it.

  4. Deb, I think I want "These are My people." (With the capitalization) tattooed on my OTHER hand, opposite the "Love them more" from Gina's ring.

    And yes, I agree, an army of Walmart shoppers would probably be a pretty good group. And at least they'd be well-armed. : )

  5. Me, too, Susie! Some days are worse than others and it just seems like everyone is IN MY WAY. Maybe they are there for a reason??? Ouch.

  6. I will confess the people I have the hardest time not judging, for some reason it's mothers who smoke. Maybe I let myself get away with it because it's such a dumb little thing, but it completely stymies me. If you're a mother and you smoke it either means a) you didn't quit while pregnant, or b) you purposely started again. It also means a) you're inundating your children with second hand smoke, or b) you're running outside and leaving them all the time. Mystified. Completely.

    And what did I see at Walmart this week? A mother asking her preteen to get a cigarette out of her purse for her. That one really took all my self control to walk past.

    Hmm...I guess I need this lesson.

  7. Great post, Niki. I wish I'd read this earlier. I'm away from home and as I was driving from this town to the next to look for food, I was being overly critical of the people on the road. Thank you for this gentle reminder. I sure did need it.

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