I remember the first time I judged someone. I saw the words come out of my mouth. I saw them tumble in the air with the hurt that was subconciously intended for the target. i couldn’t hold the words in any longer. Knowing that it would make me feel better and give me the power…out they came. And they were a direct hit. Bullseye.
I knew the effect the darts had on her, because there was instantly shame in her eyes that turned into radiating anger as the moments went on.
I thought it would make me feel better to get those words off my chest. Words that were hurled with great intent. Yet, as the apostle Paul reminds us in his letter to the letter to the Romans, I do the very think I do not want to do. I wanted to release the judgment from me, but I did not want to hurt her the way that I did.
A friend lost in my need to feel better about myself. Dust judges.
Realizing the unintendid consequence of my strike, I begain to apologize and ask forgiveness. Undeserved forgiveness. And I hoped for grace. But there was no grace. Dust condemns.
As I sit in this world as a piece of dust this Lenten season and today in particular, I am holding the incident at OU before me. Dust judges. Dust condemns. As if holding a heavy rock, I feel the weight of them, and I realize I must put one of them down to hold and offer forgiveness.
I hold the enormity of the incident and the consequences that followed and contnue to unfold in prayer: God of grace and mercy, take the stones from their hands. Stones that judge and condemn with hatred. In their place, give them words of compassion and forgiveness. Stones that judge and condemn will kill. Words that offer compassion and forgiveness will bnng new life and transformation. I pray for a world that will allow this conversation to take place. I pray that instead of condemning and being condemned we understand we are dust with the promise of transformation in the grace of Jesus the Christ. The One who walked the earth as dust and fully understands our sinful nature. The One offering forgiveness and compassion. The one who understands when no one else does. The One who needs us as agents of transformation, vessels of grace, willing to take a stand against the crowd and offer words of forgiveness and compassion for everyone. For we all need them. We are dust. Dust judges…and dust condemns.
(c) 2015 The Rev. Lil Smith