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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

J is for Judgement

I've been thinking about this post for a while now. Mostly because the J-word is such a huge part of my faith journey. I did not grow up in a Christian home. I was always curious about Jesus, and I went to church with whoever I could, whenever I could, but my family always had the attitude of, "no thanks." Their biggest reason: Judgement.

I've experienced a lot of judgement in my life. More when I've lived my life as a Christian than when I strayed from my faith. It's as though the moment we accept Christ, a switch magically flips and we're suddenly supposed to become more perfect and more capable of overcoming the flaws of humanity that made us need Christ in the first place.  Except it's never worked that way for me. Maybe I'm doing it wrong, but as much as I've prayed to become a better person because I'm a Christian, the more I find I fail. Worse, the more I work on being that person exhibiting the magical "Fruit of the Spirit," the more I seem to have a whole lot of rotting fruit falling off my tree. When I dig deeper into the question forever embroidered into friendship bracelets about What Would Jesus Do, I end up falling woefully short of anything that would make God proud.

The real Danica, the person I am when I am just being me, is not the person who exemplifies any of the Christian ideals we learn about in Bible studies. I cuss. A lot. Mostly in my head, but I do enjoy letting a good one rip once and a while. I can say, without any doubt, that my children learned every bad word they know from me. I have a pretty mean spirit. I was just talking on the phone today with one of my BFFs lamenting someone else's good fortune that we did not think was fair. I told her, "I know I'm supposed to be happy for her, and I know I'm not being Christlike, but man!!!" I yell at my kids. I plot people's murders in my head. I lust after things I know I shouldn't lust after. I don't read my Bible every day. To be honest, I don't understand most of what I do read in the Bible. I sometimes skip church because I'm too lazy to get out of bed. I do not love my neighbor. I really don't even love myself most of the time. I tell people I'll pray for them and then forget. I try to spend time with God, but spend most of that time sitting around, wondering what the heck I'm supposed to be doing and how you spend time with someone who's invisible. Mostly, I don't get what it means to be a Christian. Because while I think God is awesome, I'm really not sure what I'm supposed to do with that knowledge. Sometimes, I even question God. I wish this was the complete list, but I could probably continue the list all night and still not be done writing it.

Great confession, huh? The reason I don't confess these things more often, is that I fear the judgement that comes with them. I've seen Christians who confess to their failings in attempt to be more transparent, but you know what? Those confessions almost always come with some deep Biblical lesson to show how much God is working in their lives. I don't really have those same answers. When I slip in front of some Christians and say that bad word or unkind thing or totally blow it on a Biblical interpretation, I'm immediately thrown into the pot of sinners who, despite our best intentions, are going to hell. If I have a glass of wine, some Christians don't care, and others are immediately calling the exorcist in hopes of saving my soul. Some days, I'm afraid to take a step or open my mouth, because I know that despite my good intentions, I'm going to alienate a group of people I deeply care about. So I clam up and go through the motions. I try to be the good, more evolved (or maybe I should find another word, since some people would have me burned at the stake for saying "evolve"), Jesus-loving Danica that's sure to go to heaven. But it makes me miserable.

I don't presume to be a theologian. But here's what I believe to the bottom of my soul. God knows the real me. He knows when I'm faking it. He knows every single bad thing about me, every single doubt, and He chooses me anyway. He knows I don't have it figured out. He knows I'm trying. And I'd like to think that even though I somehow missed the class on how to be magically transformed because of faith in Jesus, that God loves me anyway.

Because I am not a fully evolved Christian, I don't always remember these things when people judge me. I forget that it doesn't matter that others think I'm the biggest messed up sinner on the planet. I sometimes fail to cling to God's love and grace when I need it most. And yes, there are days when I, too, judge. I'm sorry for that. Like I said, I'm still figuring this out.

There are people in my life who don't judge me. I'm really grateful for them. Those are the people who are Jesus to me. They don't need me to be more or less of anything. They love me as I am. And when I someday become that highly evolved Christian I read so much about in all the self-help Christian books, they're going to love me still. Of course, I'll probably be dead at that point, but hey, we'll be in heaven, so it'll all be good.


God and my everyday life said...

Thank you so much for your blunt honesty.Other Christians may not admit it, but ceratinly, we all struggle and are at varying stages of evolving. The verse I used in my last blog post spoke about when we see Him, then we shall be like Him. And isn't that just what you said, by then we'll be dead. :) __Keep being real. We all need more of that.

DanicaFavorite said...

Thanks Mary.

Becky Daye said...

He knows every single bad thing about me, every single doubt, and He chooses me anyway.- LOVE this line!!! I DID grow up in a Christian home, but after 38 years, I am finally beginning to understand grace. It really is true that the more we learn, the more we realize we don't know. But I love that God is always patient with us and always choosing us! Thanks for keeping it real!

DanicaFavorite said...

Becky, you are so right about the more we learn, the more we realize we don't know. Every time I discover something new about my faith and God, I realize that I don't know a thing! I probably won't until I meet Him.

Margareta said...

Wow! That's deep stuff.

DanicaFavorite said...

Margareta, I'm not always deep... sometimes I'm just fun. :) At least I think so. :) Thanks for stopping by.

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