“Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.”
~ Matthew 7.1-2, New Revised Standard Version
There are some things that we don’t want to pray about, that we choose not to enter into dialogue with God about. For some of us, it doesn’t seem appropriate or relevant. We speak to God as if we know what God wants to hear or have determined over the span of our relationship what God can handle. We talk as if God needs to be protected from our sinful experiences or that we can hide parts of ourselves from God.
God’s ears are too delicate, only able to handle our praise and adoration. God is dainty, delicate, simple even. It would be too much to tell it all. This is why our prayers are preplanned or memorized, why we only talk to God when in need or at our wits end. It is because we believe that there is a way to talk to God and that there are times when talking to God is most appropriate and understood. There are things that should and should not be said to God, some subjects that are off limits because it would be embarrassing for God to hear or serve as an embarrassment to God. It could suggest God’s impotency, lack of control or awareness of human affairs. Thus, it would be disrespectful to raise these issues while in conversation with God.
Or, we don’t enter into conversation with God about particular issues or concerns as a matter of will. We don’t want to talk about it because we have no intention of and no desire to stop. We don’t want to admit them or confess the need for assistance in their cessation. Our reasons vary: We didn’t create them. They didn’t originate with us. We are sinful. But, it doesn’t matter who gave them to us; instead our energies should focus on the fact that we possess them. Instead of throwing them away, we have kept them. But, we can offer them to God in confession.
Still, some of us will point to Jesus and say, “The Lord knows my heart.” Yes, the Lord does but do you know it? Are you acquainted with the issues of it? Prejudice is one such issue that we might view as irrelevant to our Christian faith though it does impede its faithful practice. Many of our prejudices we have gleaned from American culture, picked up from conversations or received through family traditions. And we are guilty of passing these prejudices on to others.
Our society tells us that we should judge. It’s natural, human even and our assumptions could save our lives. But, our prejudices assume more than a potential threat to our lives or livelihood but guilt or innocence, front and center or marginalized, in or out. Our prejudices tell us who to love and to hate, who to keep and who to throw away, who to bless and who to curse. And there is no Christian commandment or directive or law for this. It is wrong, sinful and it is not Christ- like.
Thus, today, God, I confess the willingness with which I assume and think the worst of persons who are not members of my culture and the ease with which I assume that “my people” can do no wrong. I confess my hubris and arrogance and ignorance, my wanting to be right and to be found with the “right” people. I confess my anger at the seeming injustice that persons of other cultures represent without knowledge of their participation in any act that has oppressed or harmed another. And I ask that You would renew my mind, show me the truth and teach me how to look not at the outward appearance but at the heart of those that I encounter. I make this request in the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.