Friday, January 13, 2012
I've seen this picture going around facebook lately. I love it. And I boy does it hit home for me. I know that being judgmental is:
1) one of the most common complaints about Christians and
2) something I know I am guilty of.
And lately I've been really judgmental about people who make racist or ignorant comments to me about Amani. Don't get me wrong, they shouldn't do that. And I am not at all excusing racist comments. But my first instinct is to keep a running list of all the stupid/offensive things people have said to me since we first started our adoption. And then complain and get on my high-horse about how frustrating it is to me, the wonderful non-racist person that I am. And that is exactly the definition of judgmental.
I got one of those comments very recently. Something about me being so lucky because Amani is good-looking. I'm not 100% sure it was related to race, but it sure sounded to me like I was lucky to have gotten a good-looking black boy. And I also know without a doubt that the person giving me this "compliment" really had no idea what she was saying. But I do know that no one would make a comment like that about a biological child. Can you imagine? You visit your friend who has just had a baby and you say, "oh you are so lucky your baby actually turned out to be pretty!" Yikes. I have a good friend who recently got a compliment about being "pretty for a black girl" and no doubt that person thought they were saying something nice. I would be willing to bet no white person has ever gotten the "compliment" that she was "pretty for a white girl."
So I was praying (aka complaining to Jesus) about some of the stuff that I've encountered lately and I suddenly realized that I am not supposed to be praying ABOUT those folks... I'm supposed to be praying FOR them.
And I realized that my being judgmental of them is just as bad as their racism/ignorance. Ouch.
If I truly believe in the transformative power of Christ, why in the world would I choose to be judgmental of people who make comments like that instead of leaning on Him to help me be an instrument of change? I sat there, convicted, realizing that not only was I judgmental, but I was completely not trusting in God that He can handle that kind of thing.
Now don't get me wrong, I fully believe that God intends us to DO something about our prayer requests. We have hands, feet, and mouths for a reason. But if I am consistently praying FOR the folks who make unintentional (and intentional) comments towards my family, I will have a much better attitude and be much better equipped to handle those kinds of situations in a way that glorifies God. 'Cause smacking them or giving dirty looks doesn't quite work, as tempting as those responses are.
As we head into Martin Luther King weekend, I can't help but think what his prayer life must have looked like. He's a bit of a hero of mine and I am thrilled that this year Riley is old enough to understand just a little bit of how important he was for our history. My life is better because of what he did. And this weekend, I thank God for people like him who, because they love Jesus, are compelled to fight injustice.