Monday, March 31, 2008

UnChristian: Judgemental

UnChristian-Judgemental, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
Last night, we returned from spring break, and started a new series at h2o. The name of the series is UnChristian, and is based on a book by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons from the Barna Research Group, a Christian research firm that examines faith and culture in the united states. I highly recommend checking out the sites.

The book exposes the fact that Christianity in the United States has an image problem. Kinnaman and Lyons found in a survey of people between the ages 18 and 29 who were asked about what came to their mind when they thought of Christians and Christianity, the words were not necessarily those that Christians would be proud of. In fact, the words were antithetical to what Christians should be known for. That's why they called their book unchristian.

The number one word used to describe Christians was "judgemental". Now upon reading this statement, one might already be trying to construct a defense, or beginning to write off the statement as not having any weight. One of the things that I like about the barna research group is that they actually DO research. They do follow up stories to find out why people would use a word like "judgemental" to describe Christians--to find out more, I recommend reading the book. After all, wouldn't it be better if words like "loving", "compassionate", "godly", "moral", "kind", "patient" or something like that were used? Of course one could easily write off the fact that people are always going to speak ill of Christians, but what if we were giving folks a reason to speak ill? Wouldn't we want to do something about it?

Well, last night, Trey Dunham kicked off our series called unchristian at h2o. He talked about why people are judgemental in general (it's not just a problem with the church), and how we Christians might have an answer and an opportunity to be a witness.

You see, we become judgemental when we are comparing ourselves to others. We want to look "better" than other people. We look down our noses, and become arrogant. But maybe if we remember the grace and mercy that God shows us, and we remember our own glaring sins it would be a start for us to overcome being judgemental.

I remember a story about a log and a splinter that Jesus told, maybe the beginning of not being a judgemental person is simply the admission of the log in our eye.

When we are humble, and we freely admit our faults, it is perceived as weakness. Nobody likes to be weak. People can and often will hurt you when you are weak. But maybe if people saw Christians being raw and honest with their own imperfections, if people saw Christians confessing their sins to one another, if people saw Christians as something different than a harsh and thorny cactus plant, then maybe we wouldn't so easily fit the label of being judgemental.

If you've got a couple of minutes, give yourself an eye exam today--is there a log there? Tell someone about it. Ask them to help you remove it even. Of course, they may hurt you, but wouldn't it be worthwhile to risk it?

1 comment:

Cassie said...

Thanks for being the inspiration you are! I enjoy reading all your posts and thought Trey did an excellent job at kicking off this series! Can't wait for sunday night! Have a good rest of the week. :)