Words of Hope: Judgmental Hiding

Sometimes I imagine Dad riding next to me in the car. We might pray together, or I will ask him a question. I loved to get his opinion on dysfunction. He understood it so well, having done so much work to move out of it but also having enough familiarity to be deeply compassionate.  
When I was young, my parents introduced me to a girl barely older than me. I was shocked to learn she had been pregnant and had recently given birth. She was humble and quiet, and I remember thinking I needed to show her as much compassion as possible and as much normalcy as I can.  

One of the other church leaders had a girl my age. She and her mom approached my mom and me. The mother said with joy that her daughter could hardly stomach speaking to this girl because she had been so wicked. Her daughter smiled up at her and her mom praised her for being so sensitive to the “spirit.” 

That story has stayed with me a long time. I wondered what kind of home would reward children for being spiritually cruel. I find the answer in my own experience. I have been spiritually cruel, mostly because I have thought of myself more highly than I ought which is a sure sign of being unloving.  

Dad and I would talk about spiritual cruelty because of some of the experiences my children had in school. He would remind me that our inner lives reveal our inner spirit. When there is judgment, self-piety, favoritism, hatred of others, or secrecy of sin, this will be revealed in interactions and words.    
When there is love and service in our hearts, gratitude for people, humility toward sin, love and tenderness for every person regardless of their story, this will be revealed in the interactions and words.   

Dad would tell me the number one reason people were spiritually cruel is because they have a secret sin that judging others allows them to hide away. Being repulsed by someone’s sinful struggle is an easy way to have our eyes off what we need to change.   

He would warn to beware a deficit of love and mercy against someone else’s life experience. It usually is a sign that you are running from your own dishonesty with God.  

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. – Matthew 23:25-26