Everyone who knows me know I am an extrovert. I generally have no problem making conversation with...whomever happens to be around.This is especially true with people with whom I perceive I have things in common with: young mothers, someone who admires my kids, another extrovert, etc...
Today I was sitting near the back of church. I was by myself (except for Addie, which is why I was in the back). A couple came in and sat in the very back row. Lets just say they were not the typical Adullam demographic (White, middle class, young, churched, suburbanites) I smiled, thought about saying hi, and then the music started so I considered myself off the hook. I could tell you I didn't say hi because I didn't get the chance, or that I had Addie and it just wasn't convenient, or that it just wasn't my job to glad hand visitors. As the music played I started feeling guilty, knowing the reason I hadn't said hi was that they were...different. It would have been out of my comfort zone.
After the music, Hugh encouraged us to say hello to those around us, so I walked over and made conversation with the couple. She was very nice, we chatted about our children (hers are grown and gone) and exchanged "Happy Mothers Day's".
Today Hugh reviewed the sermon on the mount. He talked a little about judging. I think God was directing that at me. Any time we compare ourselves to other, they are being judged by us. They either fall short, like the couple behind me, and we find ourselves better, or we see them to be better than us. Jesus tells us we are to compair ourselves and strive to be like no else but Him. Call it the "mind your own business" clause in the bible. This applies to gossip, too.
So, why is this such a big deal? First of all, we use other peoples lives to distract us from our own. Seeing Britney Spears as a screw up and crappy mom make me feel superior. When I feel better than someone or more Godly, my first instinct is not to love them, which is what I am called to do. Then I talk about it with my friends, which is gossip, and they see how much better we both are than that person.
When people are asked to describe Christian's, the first word that seems to pop up is "judgemental". Wonderful, we are exactly what Jesus told us not to be. So, next time I think about a homosexual, single mother, partying teen, or strange couple in the back row, I will think about grace. I will remember perfection and how short I fall. I will speak truth without judgment or beating someone with doctrine. I will learn to "mind my own".