Judging vs Loving

I don’t think that many “young folks” read my blog, but just in case, I need to tell you something very important.

Life gets more confusing as you get older.

I get it, that sounds wrong. Trust me, it feels wrong too. Because you spend your whole life thinking, when I’m older, I’ll figure it all out.

Oh dear one. You won’t.

But here’s the thing. There’s a lot of freedom in not having everything figured out. There is beauty in questioning and wondering and seeking and asking.

I used to think that most things in life were very black and white. Right and wrong. Good and bad. And that made it very easy for me to judge.

I need you to know an important lesson I’ve learned in my older, more confused state.

It is far, far easier to judge than to love.

It is simple for me to look at you, your choices, your lifestyle, and tell you everything that is wrong with you. Because, let’s be honest, that makes me feel better about myself.

“At least my life doesn’t look like that,” I can say smugly.

“At least I don’t struggle with that.”

“At least I haven’t suffered those consequences.”

You know what’s harder? To look at you, to me, all mired down in the muck of life and sin and our own journeys, and choose love.

“I love, even when I don’t understand you.”

“I love you, even when you make me uncomfortable.”

“I love you, because I’m supposed to. Even when it’s hard.”

I could include a long list of qualifying statements here, about how love can look different, and we need to hold each other accountable, and on and on. But the qualifiers are easy. We can come up with those on our own.

Instead, I’ll end with a story.

I once had a friend whom I loved. I admired that friend, enjoyed spending time with that friend. And then our journeys, our paths, diverged. My friend made choices I wouldn’t have. Fought battles I couldn’t possibly understand.

In the beginning, I kept loving my friend. It was hard at times. Sometimes it felt like we were speaking different languages. Lived on different planets.

And judging started to edge in. Decisions were made. Some right, some wrong. I judged my friend. Perhaps my friend judged me. And soon the love was buried under layer upon layer of all my friend had done “wrong.”

But the love was still there. Dormant and weak, but love is shockingly hard to kill, it seems.

There was space and time and healing, and that little sprout of love peeked through, like a tiny white flag. There was a tentative message, a warm response, a conversation that was wrapped up in love, judgement silenced.

It may have been easier to judge. Less risky to keep my distance. But as I sit here, feeling that little seed of love, of friendship, fluttering in my chest, I have but one thought.

Choose love.

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