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Even for those of us who follow Jesus on a daily basis, the reality is, our sinful nature has infiltrated our minds, and we often find ourselves, either consciously or unconsciously, judging those around us. While we are often blinded by our own weaknesses and limitations, we judge others instantly.

We deem this person overweight, that person selfish, another lazy. This is, I would argue, the status quo, and in order to break through our default to judgment, we must make an intentional decision to do so. Gregory Boyd, in his book, Repenting of Religion: Turning from Judgment to the Love of God attempts to do just that.

While sitting in a mall he found himself judging others, instantly seeing their faults. Thankfully, as he says, he noticed how he was noticing others, and his judgments about those around him were not flattering. After remembering Jesus’ pronouncement to first bless people (Luke 10:5), Boyd began a thought experiment: what if, instead of judging people he began to bless them instead:

As I replaced judgmental thoughts with loving thoughts and prayers of blessing, something extraordinary began to happen. I began to see the worth I was ascribing to people, and I began to feel the love I was giving to them. As I ascribed worth to people, not allowing any other thought, opinion, or feeling to enter my mind, my heart began to expand. In fact, at certain moments I felt as though I would explode with love. I was waking up to the immeasurable value and beauty of each person in the mall that afternoon.

Sitting in the sipping a Coke, enjoying God’s creations, I was experiencing the heart of God. It felt like finding home after having been lost for a long while. It was like waking up from a coma. It was like finding undiluted truth when all you’d known up to that point was the watered-down kind.

I felt as though I was remembering something I had long since forgotten or unveiling something I had been covering my whole life. The love, joy, and peace I was experiencing as I dwelt in this place-and it did seem like a mental and spiritual “place”-was beyond description. Yet I also was filled with a profound sense of compassion for people. In waking up I saw not only the God-given illimitable worth of people but also the many ways this worth is suppressed in our lives.

Gregory A. Boyd. Repenting of Religion: Turning from Judgment to the Love of God, Baker Publishing.

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