At some point, everyone has been judged by the actions of others. As you read this, I’m sure you can call to mind several instances in your life when this has happened to you. If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll admit that we’ve been guilty of falling into this same trap ourselves.
This phenomenon struck me last week when the lead singer to a band I really like was arrested. You can read the details here. Essentially, Tim Lembesis of As I Lay Dying was arrested for trying to hire someone to kill his wife. Yes, he’s an idiot, but that’s a whole other blog post.
One of the things that stood out to me in the aftermath of this was the commenters on various websites reporting the news. Sure, some people said Tim was a moron or worse. Others wished the best for his wife and kids. However, a large majority used the event to attack Christianity. This is because in the past, members of As I Lay Dying were pretty vocal about their faith. (On a side note, Tim admitted that he lost his faith and no longer believes in God.)
Reading those comments acted as a reminder to me that as a Christian many are going to judge me more harshly than they would someone else. Is it fair? I don’t know. However, I can see why it happens.
Too often, a person calling themselves a follower of God is ready to rain down fire and brimstone on all those around them without ever willing to admit they suffer from their own temptations. Yes, I think I have a pretty good grasp of what God wants us to do. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t stumble, fail, and embarrass myself as others do. I’m a Christian, but I’m also imperfect and I’m a sinner.
With that in mind, let’s judge people by their own actions rather than stereotyping an entire group (not just Christianity) on the actions of a few outliers. Better yet, judge an individual by how they act after doing something stupid or awful. Do they give up and spiral out of control? Or do they repent, ask for forgiveness and try to do better? That may be the true indicator of what sort of person they are.