Are you judging me?

Arizona State University is an interesting campus.  Here is a recent account of my 20 minutes spent on campus while waiting to give students rides:

Every Wednesday, I set up the Chi Alpha contact table to let people know about Chi Alpha! It’s really fun, but we certainly come in contact with a lot of characters.  Just last week, the tables included:

The Chi Alpha Table:

The 9/11 Conspiracy Table:

The Political Table & The Friends of Internationals Table:

And….Devil’s in the Bedroom:

They were doing condom demos & had a claw machine.  The prize? Condoms.

It’s a wide variety of people trying to get their message out on campus.  One day, a few weeks ago, I was sitting at the table by myself.  I was watching the thousands of students walk by, checking out their cute clothes, and taking in every shape & size of person.  Some conservative Jewish men walked by- beards, curls, tassels, yarmulkes. As they walked by, I suddenly became aware of what I was wearing.  I started to tug at my skirt that hit above the knees and crossed my arms. The thought that hit me was, “Oh they probably think I am so immodest! I wonder what they are thinking of me!?”  They must have seen me staring because as they passed my table one of the men offered a hearty & friendly, “Hello!”

I felt immediately convicted by the Holy Spirit.  I had prematurely judged these men- that they had had negative thoughts about me. First of all- I’m like 99% sure they did not give a second thought to me. They were super friendly, happy guys!  The next thought that came to mind was, “Maybe that’s what people think I’m doing at my table…Maybe they all think I want to shame & judge them.”

Christians would tell people they weren’t judgmental, that they accept everyone.  I would say that.  I’m not totally sure my talk matches my walk.  I am probably one of the most harshly judgmental people I know! I have so many opinions that I’m positive are 100% right.  But judging was never my job- it’s God’s.  Loving is my job.  Accepting is my job.  Speaking the truth in love is my job.

The next week, I went out to pray for a few people with Larissa. (She is…amazing. So smart, so talented, and cute to boot!)  We got to pray for and encourage 2 girls.  We just asked God to give us a word for both of them- and both girls smiled as we left.  The one said, “This is so nice that you’re doing this! Thank you!” These girls both had a personal experience with Jesus’ followers.  We didn’t try to tell them they were living in sin- we just shared with them what we knew of Jesus. Just love. It was very simple. It was also out of our comfort zones. We walked around forever trying to decide who to approach!

Obviously, I believe there is a place and time- in the context of relationship- to discuss sin issues & speak the truth in love.  We wouldn’t be loving people well if we didn’t want to help them get out of their mess. I think, however, I can spend a LOT more time loving and accepting and serving.  I am challenged to use conversations to change people’s perception of what it is to follow Jesus- to show that Jesus wants us to step out of shame and condemnation.  It’s for freedom that He has set us free! Amen!!

Thoughts? Comments? Concerns?

xox.

Katie Cannon

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