To Judge or to Love

The depths of my heart are difficult and troubling to plumb. Yesterday morning I found myself early stumbling to the kitchen to find my coffee press and a bowl of cereal, only to be greeted by a sink full of dishes and messy countertops. Tara and the kids had made a yummy dinner of homemade chicken and dumplings.

In the slow blink of my tired eyes I found myself thinking – “What a mess! I really shouldn’t have to clean this up. She made such a huge mess and just left it here.”

Now, praise God, in the same moment I was reminded of the way I usually think when I cook. When I spend time “working so hard” cooking I always think, “I’ve worked so hard cooking, surely she will clean up!”

And, in that moment I had a choice. I could judge my wife or I could love her. Judgment promotes my self-interest bias, which clearly doesn’t need any promotion or encouragement. Love lays aside self and promotes the other. That never comes naturally for me, but it is the right and true thing to do.

Another example of this is how easily my “discernment” radar screen picks up the blips of pride in other people. You know how this goes. Someone starts talking and you instantly observe their pride, their lack of self-esteem and need to self-promote, their shameless grab for attention. You think, “This guy is really hard to put up with. I wish they would stop talking so much.” And you look for ways to escape or change the subject. If you are really brave or know them well you might even try to “help” them by giving some kind advice about how they come across. Well, at least, that is how I am.

At the same time, this uncanny ability to see pride in others often escapes me when I look at myself. But others can see it in me just as easily as I can see it in them. Even though I know that, for some reason, if someone dared to suggest that I am being prideful… well, look out! I might just go on the verbal attack and my verbal attacks aren’t pretty.

So, again, I have a choice. I can judge or I can love. I can tear others down or I can build others up. I can make life about me or I can choose to live a life of love just as Jesus chose to live for me.

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