Who doesn’t love a good ol’ PB&J on white soft bread? It has to be on white bread, right?!? Betcha’ can taste the goodness now and recall a memory that makes it even better. As much as we love PB&J, I had a thought this weekend that may change your mind. Let me explain.
After a family event, we were sitting around chatting about…what else, family. In the midst of the conversation, family member A (fma) said something to this affect: “She has gone wild. She’s a wild child.” Family member B (fmb) member spoke up, “I will not talk about that. Let’s not be judgmental. We all have a story.” FMA said, “I was not judging, I was just making a comment.” FMB replies, ‘Really? Your comment was not judgmental?’ FMA says, ‘No, it was a comment and it is not a judgement; it is the truth as far as what I see.’ FMB replies, ‘Ok then instead of judging with a comment that may or may not be truth, pray for her.’ The conversation continued but FMB’s comment made me think: How often do I cast judgement (a casual comment or not) without stopping to pray and believe in what I am praying for and who I am praying to? (Thanks FMB for making me think – love you!)
Then this came to me: As much as I like PB&J, maybe I should try a PB & no J. Pray…Believe…no Judgement. I am not saying we should not be discerning and walk in wisdom but what I do think is that I (if not careful) can mask judgement with some clever words that sound “very discerning and loving” but, for sure, I have left out the ‘P’ & ‘B’ but have plenty of the ‘J.’ And truthfully, too much ‘J’ messes up the sandwich! Mark 11:24 reads, “Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.” Pray and believe…that is my job. I am to pray (and keep praying) and believe in the character of God that I know to be true. Does that mean I will see the answer right away – nope! Does that mean I can trust a God who loves the person way more than I do – yep! You see, ‘J’ – judging is easy. It takes very little effort. It is the sugary sweet stuff that tastes good and goes down easy. ‘P’ & ‘B’ – prayer and belief is more difficult. It takes time and effort. It is the thick stuff that holds the sandwich together. Hmmmmm? that is food for thought at a latter time
Let me give a general example: I see a person that is different (behavior, race, gender, political and theological ideas, etc..) than me – truly doesn’t matter the difference, here is what often happens: b/c of fear that I cannot control the situation or change the person’s behavior that makes me uncomfortable; I judge them for a host of reasons – and the main one is that I then do not have to include them in my sphere based on my judgement thus I do not have to have relationship with them on any level. Sound familiar? Ok, maybe that is just me. Maybe this scenario fits better: I am having one of my best days – I see or hear of someone different than me and instead of judging I start praying for them. Sounds good, right? I am not saying it isn’t but the question I am learning to ask myself is this: What am I praying for? For the other person’s appearance, actions, behaviors, thoughts to change so I feel more comfortable around them or am I praying for my heart to change so I can see more rightly? Does the other person need to change? Possibly. Does my heart need to be changed? Absolutely. Stanley Hauerwas states it this way, “The love that is characteristic of God’s kingdom is possible only for a forgiven people – a people who have learned not to fear one another…Only when my self – my character – has been formed by God’s love, do I know I have no reason to fear the other.”
Can we allow love to drive out fear (1 Peter 4:18) – and in doing so, can we learn to enjoy a PB & no J as much as we do a real PB&J? Ya know what…I think we can!