Thursday, August 21, 2008

Love vs. Judgment

I struggle with the wrong kind of judgment, that condemning apprehension of someone else. I've been convicted that what I need to have toward others is not judgment but love. I'm certain God would be more pleased with me if I never judged again and replaced every opportunity for judgment with a warm fervent love for people.

It also occurred to me that love would be a better approach to error than judgment. When I feel judgment in my heart toward another, even assuming the other person is actually in error, I'm unable to effectively address that error. This is because either I am feeling unspiritual and just keep my mouth shut, knowing if I opened it I would only do harm, or because I do open my mouth, and approaching the person in a spirit of condemnation, I do, in fact, do harm.

But if I were to instead have a fervent love for people, this wouldn't mean some kind of blanket acceptance of every error. The Biblical writings of Saint John are good examples of this. John is clear that love is paramount, but he also makes some of the most challenging statements about how the Christian should live (if anyone is born of God, he does not sin, etc). If anything, I'd guess that fervent love would cause me to be more confrontational. Who is the most loving person in history? Jesus Christ our Lord - but how confrontational was he? Very.

There is such a big difference between approaching error in love instead of condemnation. First, most people can tell how you feel about them. If they feel love coming from your efforts, they will be more likely to respond. Second, if one approaches error in love, he will be more likely to see it objectively and be able to say something helpful about it, as opposed to when we approach error in condemnation, where we feel self-righteous and our perspective is skewed by our own investment in being right.