A Whole Chapter About Not Judging (Hidden in the Bible)

So the other day I got into a particularly precarious conversation with a group of people I really respect who have a very different opinion of what I think is a pretty important, humanitarian topic.

It was a predominantly Christian group of people and the conversation was about how the Bible called us to handle this particular thing.

Now I haven’t actually read the Bible thoroughly. Maybe like 20% if I’m being generous with myself.

But I had a pretty strong opinion on this point.

“I really just think that if we are talking about loving each other, the commandment of Jesus, the first thing we are called to do is not judge each other.” I said. “I just cannot see how it is our job to judge.”

My theological argument pretty much ended there.

With a piddly “You know, judge not, lest ye be not judged” thrown in for good measure.

Everyone nodded politely.

But I KNEW this was a key. And that there must be more than that.

So fast forward a week.

And randomly I pick up the Bible and start reading Romans. A book I have never read.

And I get to chapter 14 and my jaw drops.

The whole freaking chapter is about how we are not to judge our neighbors.

How we are to support them in doing what they believes connects them to god.

The whole freaking chapter!

It’s kind of about food. But it’s about WAY more than food.

To me it is about everything. About condemning each other for the way another worships or expresses herself or loves or interprets her own whispers from whatever name she have given any presence bigger than herself.

I’ll read you parts of it in this video. Because it is so good!

It says:

“Always receive them as friends, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on their scruples.”

and…

“Nothing is defiling in itself. A thing is defiling only to the person who holds it to be so.”

and…

“Happy is the person who never has to condemn himself in regard to something he thinks is right.”

I am in love with Romans 14 today.

And I continue to remain passionate about the idea that if we are to bring light and beauty onto this earth, that one of our core jobs is to give up judgment of each other.

To listen to the whispers in our own hearts and souls and minds and to honor others by allowing and inviting and even celebrating that they are doing the same.

As we jump into holiday parties and gatherings and difficult family conversations… what if we kept this in mind?

What if we focused on judging each other less? And loving each other more?

Do you suck at apologizing?

I have to admit, being wrong and apologizing are not two of the things I am best at.  Nor are they my favorites.

But if you always have to be right, you can’t actually receive contribution from anybody else!

I’ve been looking at this topic for years and getting better… and yet… when something was brought to my attention yesterday that I had done that really wasn’t cool, I still had the hardest time forming a true apology in my head.

I kept hearing myself sneak in reason and justifications into my apology about why I had done what I did. I noticed I wanted to say “I’m sorry but..” which is really to say, “It’s your fault” or “I’m not sorry.”

I’ve made a video about this not so favorite topic with some keys to keep in mind:

If you would like to create an apology, a true apology, one in which the energy of the conflict changes, there are a few key things to remember:

  1. Lower your barriers- push down anything that makes you want to protect or defend yourself. More on this 
  2. Cut out all your reasons and justifications.  It doesn’t matter why you chose to eat your dad’s pie or say something rude, the point is, you did it!  “but” and “because” do not belong in a true apology.
  3. Try using the phrase “I’m sorry.  I was wrong.  What can I do to make up for the damage I’ve done?” If done sincerely, it is an incredibly powerful phrase.

While being wrong or apologizing is not necessarily fun, it’s sometimes required. Sometimes you are wrong— at least from their point of view.

I made my apology this morning.  It wasn’t easy.  But I’m still alive! And the space and lightness in my universe has expanded. I’m very grateful for this choice.

I may have a ways to go on this topic before my stomach stops churning with the thought I may be wrong. But I’m not willing to live being right and righteous and fighting for my point of view.  I’m not willing to limit my own awareness and contribution in that way.  So I’ll keep practicing.

Is there anything in your life you need to apologize for?

What would it create if you were willing to be wrong?