Being judgemental is one of the major problems in the Church. Judging another person is forming an opinion on who they are based on appearance, color, other outward issues. Judging looks something like this: two people are at the mall and they see a woman in her late 20's with tattoos, dark clothing and a different hairstyle. She also has a three year old son walking with her. One of the shoppers looks at the other and says "I feel sorry for that kid, he hasn't got a chance. Just look at his mother".
How do you think Christ would look at that young mother? Would he love her? Would he suffer for her? Would he die for her? Would God raise him from the dead so that young woman could participate in the Divine Life for all eternity?
We judge because it makes us feel morally superior. We judge so we can manage people by putting them into boxes and categories. Jesus destroys all categories on the cross. The old saying is that at the foot of the cross the ground is level. That is another way of saying that "all have fallen short of the glory of God". The person being judged never feels loved, only condemned and excluded.
There is a wonderful story of Jesus being confronted with a woman caught in adultery. The men want to stone her and Jesus simply says "let he with no sin throw the first stone". All the men leave and he tells the woman "Is no one here left to condemn you, then neither do I". Jesus is the only one who is given authority to judge and yet here he restores and loves.
When you look at the average church it is rare to see a significant mix of peoples and races. It is interesting to me to walk downtown Seattle or Tacoma and to look at the way the people are dressed, wearing their hair and then to look at our congregations in those same cities. There is a difference.
I am judged by church people since I wear my hair longer. Someone forgot to tell me that is not the right image for a pastor; so people make sure I know that. What I find terribly ironic is that these same people have pictures of a white Jesus with long flowing hair and a beard in their homes. I guess if Jesus were to come again to serve as their pastor he better get a haircut.
If I, as a leader in the church are being judged based on my hairstyle how do you think that people outside the church feel? Do they feel loved, supported and cared for? Do we reflect the unconditional love of God in Christ? People will know whether they are wanted or not and we need to grow in maturity so we can see all people as Christ would.