The reason I found it interesting is because I used to belong to a forum for moms. You might think that sounds lovely and helpful, but it wasn't. If I based my opinion of women in general and mothers in particular on that single forum, I'd be convinced that women and mothers were the worst people on the planet. I found myself drawn to the drama, but it wasn't long before the negativity and hatred made me realize what a cesspool those forums were. One of the most common past-times on those forums was "judging" others. No matter what someone said, there was someone else right there to tell them how wrong, awful, evil or just plain stupid they were. I'm ashamed to admit that I was a member far longer than I should have been. Even if I didn't participate, even if I came to people's defense, I was still condoning it, standing by and watching it.
Another issue that brings the question of judgement to the front of my mind is gay marriage. It's a hot topic both in and out of the church, and it's one that I've drastically altered my opinion on over the last number of years. For a long time I believed that I should be against gay marriage because the Bible said homosexuality is wrong. At the same time, we're told by the world not to judge the sexual practices of others because if we do, that's hypocritical. After all, don't Christians sin too? Doesn't the Bible tell us not to judge? Doesn't it say "Let him who is without sin, cast the first stone?"
I think this article articulates very well what I've thought for a while now. I believe that many Christians, myself included, tend to look at issues from the wrong perspective. We look at the sin in others lives and we think it's our job to point it out and isolate the person based on the "degree" of their sin. Some things are ok to let go. We don't often hear about people being ostracized from the church for gossiping. Other things are more serious and we want to go to great lengths to inform these "sinners" just how evil they are, even to the point that we try to make their lives as difficult as we can.
And yet, does God differentiate between degrees of sinfulness? Am I not just as guilty and unworthy of redemption as anyone else? I don't think so. God commanded us to love each other. As this article states:
The right approach is to ask: Given that you will be judged for what you have done, what kind of judgement do you want? If we are in our right minds, we want a judgement done with mercy, compassion, and forgiveness. And that's the way Jesus wants us to treat others: He wants us to be merciful, compassionate, and forgiving to them."
I'm not the most patient or compassionate person in the world, but I think this life is hard enough as it is without us making it harder for each other. How can we show God's love and mercy when the conversation is about condemnation and judgement? God will judge. That's one thing we can be certain of. I only hope that when He comes to me, I have a little bit of love and mercy to show for my life.