Last week, a friend told me about her plan to reveal her battle with alcoholism to her family. But she was feeling afraid, ready to bolt. “They’re a pretty judgmental bunch,” she said.
“I bet they’re Christians,” I said without thinking.
She looked surprised, but acknowledged that I was right.
Which was when I noticed the judgmentalism in my own remark. I mean, how does assuming the worst about fellow believers promote the kind of love and tolerance that I’m so worried they lack?
I trace my attitude back to my years of drinking. When my Christian faith couldn’t seem to save me from alcoholism, I grew cynical and disillusioned about it. I especially resented church-goers who seemed to promote a legalistic, “just-try- harder” approach.
If I’m honest, sometimes I still want to cast them into outer darkness.
But just this morning I ran across Jesus’ last prayer in the gospel of John. As you may know, it’s a long, passionate plea for love and unity among his followers. “I pray that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you…so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”