Many people have asked me what I am doing for Lent this year. So here it is. I am fasting from judgement and feasting on acceptance. This is based on the scriptural passages of Matthew 7:1-2, 12; James 1:19-21; Hebrews 13:1-3.
So far it has proven to be my greatest Lenten challenge so far. It has made me realize how many negative opinions I form of others without giving it any thought. Things like she is rude, he is fat, she looks weird, why do you drive like that, he hates me, etc.
After I struggled last night with some tough challenges, I awoke to this devotional from the Henri Nouwen Society which really helped to put my heart at ease and has given me a new focus on how to get through the remaining days until Easter.
Freedom from Judging, Freedom for mercy
We spend an enormous amount of energy making up our minds about other people. Not a day goes by without somebody doing or saying something that evokes in us the need to form an opinion about him or her. We hear a lot, see a lot, and know a lot. The feeling that we have to sort it all out in our minds and make judgments about it can be quite oppressive.
The desert fathers said that judging others is a heavy burden, while being judged by others is a light one. Once we can let go of our need to judge others, we will experience an immense inner freedom. Once we are free from judging, we will be also free for mercy. Let's remember Jesus' words: "Do not judge, and you will not be judged" (Matthew 7:1).
Once again, God speaks to is all when and where and how we need it.