Saturday, July 19, 2014

Are Church-Goers Judgmental?

Lately, I've read a lot of posts on Facebook accusing Christians of being judgmental. These posts seem to imply that people who go to church every week are more judgmental than, say, a tattooed biker or an auditor from the IRS. First of all, accusing an entire group of being judgmental is, well, judgmental. Setting that aside, being a person who goes to church every Sunday, I've worried about this. Am I more judgmental because I go to church?

I've known judgmental church-goers. Heck, I've been judgmental myself sometimes.  I suppose the reason Christians get more blame for being judgmental is because Jesus Christ has taught us not to judge. A judgmental Christian is also a hypocritical Christian. Frankly, since no one is perfect, every Christian is bound to be hypocritical every once in a while, even if they are striving to show Christlike love to everyone. 

So why bother to go to church every week? 

I've thought about this a lot, and I've decided that for me, it comes down to the way I feel.

In the last few months, I have spent several hours at my local Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office. Though I have, at times, witnessed courtesy there, I haven’t lately—customers tend to be in a hurry and employees don’t smile. If you make a mistake—like forgetting a social security card—you might be rewarded with an eye roll. It saps my energy to go there and reminds me of how it feels to be in middle school.

On one occasion, a DMV employee instructed my son and me to go stand at the head of a different line--not the end of the line, the head of the line--so my son could get his picture taken before his scheduled appointment. This caused a big controversy among the people who were already standing in line. Though they heard the employee's instructions, they refused to let us stand in front of them. I figured it was better to disobey instructions and go to the end of the line than to get in a fight. It was no big deal, but it made us feel terrible.

A week later, I took my twelve-year-old son to our temple. As we waited in the chapel for our turn to come, someone noticed that one young man hadn’t moved up in line with the others. A temple worker then escorted the young man, who had special needs, to sit on the front row in the correct space. No one complained. I couldn’t help comparing my temple experience to my DMV experience. I would much rather spend time with the people I met in the temple that day than with the people I'd met at the DMV.

The feelings I get from going to the temple and going to church are different from the feeling I get from going shopping or to a movie. I feel uplifted and inspired by the messages I hear. I have friends there who encourage me. Certainly, I have had my feelings hurt occasionally, but on the whole, I feel that I am better off for attending church regularly. I know this isn't the case with everyone, and I'm sorry if you have had a bad experience. 

My church friends are an extension of my family, and I love them. So, even though we are not perfect, we keep going. I'm not exaggerating when I say that some of the least judgmental people I know are people who attend church with me. Coincidentally, a few of them also have tattooes, a few are bikers, and a couple work for the IRS.

2 comments:

  1. Great post. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that none of us are perfect, and if we find ourselves pointing out how others are judgmental...then it may be time to look at ourselves and get that beam out.

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