Thursday, November 19, 2009
Erring on the Side of Grace
Have you ever made a judgement call at first glance? Was it on the side of grace or condemnation?
Years ago I went to play tennis with a friend of mine at a fairly nice tennis club. I didn't put on tennis shorts, just grabbed an old pair of shorts to play in. One of their members told me that I would have to leave because I wasn't wearing tennis attire. There was a little girl in her swimsuit and other playing without this type of clothing but they were not being asked to leave. My friend, a member of this tennis club, asked why. I told him that it was better if we left rather than argue with the man. He deemed me unacceptable for the club. He made a judgement call which condemned me. Funny, but I never forgot this. I hope I never do the same.
I wonder why some people think like that. Why would you assume the worst when you are presented with outward appearances? Why not assume something else? Why not give grace rather than condemnation?
This attitude will keep many people out of the church. They see the looks at their clothing, tattoos and body piercings. They know they are being condemned from the surface. They know that they are being degraded in the eyes of the one who is giving this condemnation. They have very good reason for staying out of church.
This elitist attitude actually degrades the person who claims it. It makes him fall under the same judgement. Jesus said, "In the same way that you judge will you yourself be judged." Honestly, I don't want to be judged. I am sure I would turn out guilty. I want to have grace. I know I must give grace if I am to have grace. I know that I must judge with grace rather than condemnation. Judging with condemnation results in condemnation. I don't want any part of that.
I'll admit I am prejudiced. I am so aware of how someone might judge