Last week I had the great fortune of hanging out with a friend from high school. We went to Chipotle :(. There, a little kid touched my butt (random funny tidbit) and I sat and talked to my friend for a few hours. It was great. The next day, I got a call from the same friend. She sounded frantic and upset and she really wanted to talk. I had originally planned to be having a Bible study with my roommate later that day but I rescheduled it and went out to lunch with my friend instead. Here’s the conversation that happened in the car and then carried into the restaurant:
Me (after a bit of small talk): So, talk to me. What’s up?
Her (EQ): I…I just…I don’t know what to say. [pause] I’m really embarrassed talking about this.
Me: It’s OK, you don’t need to be embarrassed.
EQ: Do you promise not to judge me? Or laugh? It’s just really embarrassing.
Me (jokingly): You caught me at the right time! Had it been a few hours sooner or later, I may have been in a judging mood, but right now, I’m not. I won’t judge you.
EQ (still jokingly): Oh OK I’m glad I got you at the right time. [pause] I’m just really embarrassed. I can’t talk to any kids from school about it because…[pause] and I can’t talk to my sister about it. It’s just really embarrassing. And I don’t want you to judge me…[tells me].
Me: I wouldn’t judge you for that. Why did you think I would judge you for that?
EQ: It’s worse. [tells me the worse things]
Me: I totally understand. And it’s not shameful. And I wouldn’t judge you for that.
I left out a lot and paraphrased a bit since I don’t have a photographic memory. And I left out other bits of the conversation that aren’t super relevant to this post but were important in the conversation. And I don’t write this to show how much of a saint I am because I’m not. I just wanted to talk about judgement.
This happens to me all the time. I don’t tell people things because I’m afraid of how they might react. I’m afraid I may be shunned or looked down upon or just abandoned. I’ve been on the other end too. I’ve judged people harshly and quickly, not remembering that it’s not my place (James 4:11-12, John 8:7-9, etc.) And granted, when I read this conversation between my friend and me, I’m reminded so much of how God sees us. How he looks upon us with open arms and a full heart and he’s saying, I love you, you can tell me, nothing can stop me from loving you, you are not shameful, you are my son/daughter. God does that. But God didn’t place us in this world to be alone. He made us to reflect his light and to shine on other people. What I’m trying to say is that God does the best job of loving us and consoling us, but we can do a pretty good job too. We can and should show God’s love to others. And not just in that feel-goody, Sunday school songs kind of way. I mean in the really tough, sometimes-draining-but-always-rewarding kind of way.
Fear of judgement has been an issue in my life. I’ve wondered how people would react if I really spilled my heart to them, how they would laugh, or turn away. I’ve wondered what would happen if I told them, “it’s worse”. Would they judge me?
It’s not a question worth asking because I know the answer. Most of them would. But that’s OK. I’m not friends with most people.