A well known pastor recently said that if someone draws a circle around him to marginalize him or judge him, he just draws a larger circle to include them and love them. Not usually our first response, is it?
And yet, as Christians, we are called to love – not to judge.
Can you think of anyone in your life who has drawn a circle around you—judging or criticizing you? Just close your eyes and envision yourself drawing a larger circle of love that includes that person.
How does that feel – scary, vulnerable, powerful, or satisfying? You may have a mixture of feelings each time you expand your circle of love.
And remember, you are not responsible for how the other person responds to you. Some people become angry with this type of response, while others will soften as they see your good heart. Regardless of the outcome, I encourage you to continue to increase your circle of love in response to criticism or judgment.
And this also includes people who you may be tempted to judge or look down on. Maybe they have too many tattoos or don’t dress the way you think they should. Maybe the homeless person is dirty and a bit scary to you. Again, we’re not called to judge but to love. You may be surprised at how much of a blessing someone may be to you as they respond to your caring behavior. Why not give a smile or a kind word as you pass by rather than going smugly on your way!
May God bless you as you humbly, and patiently, and kindly extend your circle of love.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2. (NIV)
Judge not that you be not judged. Matthew 7:1. (ESV)