Fasting from Judgment (Day 1)
So I’m at the grocery store, picking up a quick lunch before diving into writing – this week on judgment. I only have a couple of items, so I aim for the Express Lane, when zoom, this lady steps in line right in front of me. Mentally tapping my foot in impatience, I glance at her basket and instantly start counting: 1, 2, 3, 8, 13, can you believe she had 17 items! My mental toe tapping balloons into flat out irritation as I glance pointedly at the sign “10 item or less” (behind her back, of course). “Total disregard for the rules,” I grumble internally.
Well, I finally get checked out, get in my car to head back to the church, but of course the parking lot doesn’t let you go directly to the road. So you have to zigzag your way around to the exit. And here comes a pedestrian carrying his groceries to his car – slowly. And not only is he moving slowly, he is walking diagonally across the middle of the row. “How inconsiderate,” my pesky brain gripes.
And then, when I finally get back on the road, there’s this car. “Are you kidding?” I think. Nose in the turn lane and tail blocking my lane . . .urgh! “After this ‘quick lunch’ I’m running out of time to write about judgment. People can be so irritating!”
No, the irony was not lost on me!
At the risk of losing half our church members because Pastor Terri is so impatient (the narrative above is a bit exaggerated), judgmental thoughts are a daily occurrence. While I can be respectful and tolerant of a wide variety of viewpoints about important things, I struggle with nagging thoughts of disapproval all the time. Somehow “don’t sweat the small stuff” never permeated my thick skull!
Like perfectionism, being judgmental disrupts your thoughts and builds an attitude of discontent and constant irritation. And that’s not how God wants you to live. All that complaining does not leave much room for the fruit of the Spirit to flourish. And it most definitely disrupts prayerful thanksgiving, focusing on God’s goodness experienced day in and day out.
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Over the course of the next few days, pay attention to the running commentary in your mind. Does it contribute to your rejoicing – or does it drag you down?
Let us pray,
Lord God, forgive me for grumbling when I could be gracious, for getting irritated when I could be content, for my dissatisfaction when I could be grateful. Interrupt my negative patterns that inhibit my experience of your peace which surpasses all human understanding. We pray in the name of the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ our Lord.
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Tags: devotions, fasting, judgment, Lent