Fasting from Judgment (Day 4)
For the past few days, we have explored how judgmental thoughts impact a person’s life and perspective. For Christians, however, the damage of judging goes far beyond one’s personal peace of mind. The Barna Group, a research company focusing on faith and culture, discusses this.
A  study by The Barna Group conducted among 16- to 29-year-olds shows that a new generation is more skeptical of and resistant to Christianity than were people of the same age just a decade ago. . . The study explored twenty specific images related to Christianity, including ten favorable and ten unfavorable perceptions. Among young non-Christians, nine out of the top 12 perceptions were negative. Common negative perceptions include that present-day Christianity is judgmental (87%), hypocritical (85%), old-fashioned (78%), and too involved in politics (75%).
Whether we are talking about issues of sexuality, the relationship between faith and science, or questioning the very existence of God, the relevancy of Christianity is being seriously challenged by young people both within and outside the Christian church.
This negative reputation of Christianity likely contributes to the drastic increase in the percentage of Americans who have no religious affiliation. According to a 2012 study by the Pew Research Group:
The number of Americans who do not identify with any religion continues to grow at a rapid pace. One-fifth of the U.S. public – and a third of adults under 30 – are religiously unaffiliated today, the highest percentages ever in Pew Research Center polling. In the last five years alone, the unaffiliated have increased from just over 15% to just under 20% of all U.S. adults.
Many Lutherans and others from more grace-based denominations would not consider themselves to be judgmental. We think “I’m not that kind of Christian.” But we know that judgment stirs in everyone’s hearts – it’s part of the human experience.
What judgmental attitudes do you have that may be contributing to this negative perception of Christians?
What are you doing to combat such negative perceptions?
If a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.
Let us pray,
Lord God, you love humanity with a grace so deep that you rejoice when you find your lost sheep. Open our eyes to recognize how our attitudes, comments and behaviors damage the truth of your amazing grace. Use us to proclaim your all-encompassing love. We pray in the name of the one who rescues lost sheep, Jesus Christ our Lord,
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Tags: devotions, fasting, judgment, Lent