Yes, Sometimes I Am
"Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven."1
"You are nothing but a pharisaical religious b______," Jennifer (not her real name) angrily condemned me in front of a seminar group of about 100 people. Admittedly, I was shocked—to put it mildly—and took a moment to regain composure, and simply answered by saying, "Yes, sometimes I am."
Had I become defensive and sought to justify myself, I'm sure I would have built a wall between myself and Jennifer, and most likely there never would have been any further meaningful communication between us.
This happened following a session discussing the subject of homos-e-x-uality. Jennifer, I learned later, was gay so her hostility towards me was understandable.
A few weeks later, for those who wanted to deal with personal issues we had a live-in in-depth week-long recovery workshop. What amazed me was that Jennifer attended even though she and I disagreed regarding homos-e-x-uality. At the beginning of the week she kept me at arm's length. However, I assured her that even though I disagreed with her lifestyle, I loved and accepted her.
There were about 30 of us at the retreat, and not one person judged or criticized Jennifer in any way all week. We all loved and accepted her. This was somewhat overpowering for her as she was so used to being condemned, especially by Christians. What shocked me even more was that at the end of the week, she came to me, hugged me warmly and said, "Perhaps you are right after all."
I am convinced that—at least for many—it is a lack of unconditional love that drives people into self-destructive acts of sin in their desperate search for love and acceptance—and only love—God's unconditional love through you and me will ever take them out again.
True Christianity is much more than a creed (as important as the creed is)—it is experiencing divine love, divine forgiveness, and divine acceptance—and communicating these to every life we touch.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to understand every person you bring into my life, and communicate your divine love, forgiveness, and acceptance to them at their point of deepest need. In so doing, may they find your love, forgiveness and acceptance for themselves. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Luke 6:37 (NIV).