You start judging.
And it occurred to me that when we (namely - me) do this judging, whether intentional or not, we are actually judging a mask. For it is stated that we are not to know the depths of a person's heart, but that Christ is to know that instead. And truthfully, we do not know the depths of the people sitting all around us. We know their masks.
But Christ knows them. And I choose to trust Him.
Which is why I went back to Sunday school after being called a bigot a few weeks ago. It was accidental, that name calling, after all.
The way the class is structured, each person consecutively reads one paragraph after another until a chapter from a book is finished. The class finished the liberation theology book during my absence, and I arrived this past Sunday to start a book about twelve steps to becoming a compassionate person. It is based on the twelve step program for alcoholics.
Again, the same gentleman that angrily labeled all Anglicans as bigots, labeled all Republicans as unfeeling, selfish, animals. He merely related Republicans to an undeveloped feral animal that had been mentioned in his paragraph that he got to read out loud. We happened to be sitting next to each other. And I didn't have my own copy of the book. So I prayed.
Jesus, why on Earth am I here? Why am I sharing a book about compassion with this insensitive idiot next to me that keeps hiding behind an academic facade of superiority? WHY, exactly????
The gentleman that keeps accidentally calling me names is a professor.
So ... I found myself looking around that room doing that judging thing. Wondering out of all these academics that show up every Sunday to discuss how to become more compassionate, which ones know Jesus?
And... I don't know which ones know Jesus. Maybe all of the academics know Him. But I do know Jesus knows each of the academics. And maybe, just maybe, he wants me to see what hiding behind pretense looks like. To meet Mr. Professor.
Jesus was never mentioned in that class. I think if I feel called to go back, that would be my purpose there. To keep mentioning Jesus. Out loud. To keep Him in the room.
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
I Samuel 16:7
Yet there was another purpose for my presence in that room last week. That Sunday school room. My heart sharing a book with a heart I call The Professor. Maybe in stirring up my anger, He intended on stirring up my vision. Maybe I needed to look a little closer to home.
Maybe Jesus wants me to look inward, at me.