The first time I wore glasses.
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I remember feeling awkward and uncomfortable walking past people with glasses on for the first time in my life. I felt like everyone was looking and judging me.
Perhaps those who knew me well noticed and adjusted to the slight difference in my appearance but no one else would have known or even cared that I was wearing glasses. All those feelings I felt inside of me were not reality. They were not the truth.
I’ve heard so many people say that the reason they don’t like going to church is because everyone at church is so “judgmental”.
Well I personally find most claims of this nature to be absolute nonsense. I don’t mean to diminish the rare but real judgmental experiences of some. They do happen. But not at the rate some would lead us to believe.
If we go to church and think everyone is judging us, chances are those feelings are all our own making. We may feel them but that doesn’t make them true or accurate.
We are not the center of everyone else’s universe. Even if people do notice our quirks, imperfections and even our sins, chances are they don’t have time or the care to judge us! They have enough problems already without making us another one.
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Also, how could it possibly be true that everyone at church is judgmental except us? I find this hard to believe and are we not making unsubstantiated judgements about their being judgmental?
Teaching correct principles or eternal truth is not judgmental. Simply observing something is not judgmental. Being imperfect and not being as welcoming as we’d like to be is not judgmental. Asking genuine questions, even when poorly worded, is not judgmental.
If we believe everyone at church is judgmental, we have the problem, not everyone at church.
Church is a place where people who are trying to follow Christ come to find hope and healing. Do we sometimes get it wrong? Of course we do! But so does everyone in any organization.
Whilst we don’t have a monopoly of all the best people this world has to offer, I feel you’d be hard pushed to find an organization that has a higher concentration of good folk who love Jesus and try to love their neighbor than you’d find in the congregations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
It’s time to stop judging us and instead start joining us in lifting, loving and learning.