None of us are in a position to cast stones; we are all in need of grace.
Posted in , Mar 21, 2017
Encountering judgment is a painful experience, especially when it comes from within your church or spiritual community. It can cause a person to lose faith and turn away from God. There are no winners; the person inflicting the pain as well as the recipient face consequences.
My friend Dan was raised and baptized Catholic. At 13, he became distant and less interested in attending church, but he tried to adhere to the spiritual guidelines. Dan shared, “It was during confession one day that I was discouraged from attending church and further seeking God.”
The priest he confessed to on several occasions told him that it made no sense to continue attending church since he was unable to change his juvenile behavior. Dan doesn’t remember the specifics of his actions, but the words and judgment of the priest impacted his life and faith.
It wasn’t till Dan was a Marine that he returned to a place of worship. (Though his motivation to attend at that time was to get away from the drill instructors more than for genuine spiritual interest.) Later in life, his wife Lucy served as the gateway back to his spiritual roots and God.
Authors Josh Packard and Ashleigh Hope in their book, Church Refugees: Sociologists reveal why people are DONE with the church not their faith, write, “Forgiveness, grace, humility, and love are absent in the moment of judgment.” These are core values of the Christian faith, taught and lived out by Jesus. It’s what draws us to him and should draw others to us as well.
Should communities of faith play a role in holding its members accountable for their actions? Yes, but it should be done with the goal of helping the individual become the person that God intended while acknowledging that we all come short of that goal.
None of us are in a position to cast stones; we are all in need of grace. We all have been on the giving and receiving end of judgment, and it doesn’t feel good. Instead of judging others, let us pray and love more.
Lord, heal those wounded by our judgment; forgive our actions and help us to love more.
"If we can get Guideposts inspirational stories into the hands of people who may not have a devotional life, they can share the true-life stories of how God works in the world. The joy of Guideposts is their free, donated magazines to my hospital. --Rob C., Director of Pastoral Care.