Ministry and judgment seem to go hand in hand. I am not sure this is healthy or right, but it is reality. It would also be nice to say that I have managed to stay above the judgment fray, but that would be less than truthful. It still bothers me when I feel like I have been or the work I do has been judged. After 19 years of leading an ecumenically diverse organization, judgment is just part of the employment package. I have been described as liberal and have been written off as a conservative. To some I am too pro-life while others only think of me as pro-choice. Jesus freak and Universalist have been used regularly. If I spend too much time thinking about these labels a type of schizophrenia sets in. However, if I am honest with myself all of the labels fit.
After 19 years of interacting with Christians of all stripes I have become convinced that judging and labeling each other is mostly a silly activity. The God of Scripture is not easily definable. Choice, life, exclusive and inclusive all help to describe God. Yet Christians have used these terms and others to define who is not on God’s side.
Where does this need to judge and condemn come from? Maybe we need to be a little less exclusive in our understanding of who is in and who is out. What would happen if we started from a place of openness? I think the Apostle Paul says something similar in I Corinthians, “and now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”