Judgmental attitudes kick in when we refuse to walk in another's shoes, when we dismiss the context of another's anguish, when we deny the depth, the impact, the very validity of another's struggles. Being judgmental is easier than being compassionate: Compassion demands that we open ourselves to a sense of another's predicament. The problem is that in opening ourselves, we risk understanding. Understanding leads us closer to acceptance of the person regardless of their behaviors. Acceptance leads us away from judgment and suddenly, we're lost.
We're afraid of acceptance because we don't know how to live with the truth that Humans are sinful. We try accommodating this tenet by upholding a fairy-tale world of perfection. We trot it out on Sunday mornings, pay lip service to human frailty while we rub elbows with our church family, then stow it for another week. To put away judgmentalism is to practice grace. It's the recognition that if you experienced your neighbor's situation as they experience it, that you, too, might sin as they sin. In terms of your religious practice, grace doesn't change the terms of sin. It does change, however, your response to sin. And isn't that what love is supposed to be about?
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