So for the second time they called the man who had been blind, and they said to him, “Give glory to God! We know that this man is a sinner.” He answered, “I do not know whether he is a sinner. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.”
—John 9: 24-25
It's incredibly seductive and surprisingly easy to deal in judgment of others. We love to label someone else in some way rather than focus on our own experience. In the movie Lord of the Rings, the wizard says to Frodo,
Many that live deserve death, and some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Do not be too eager to deal in death and judgment. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that God has given to us.
This blind man had it right. He wasn't interested in sliding into determinations about someone else's character. He was interested in feeling gratitude for what had been done for him. He had been blind—unable to see, unable to notice texture or color, unable to see love reflected in someone's eyes, unable to witness a sunrise or a sunset.
He had been in pitch black darkness for the whole of his life. Now Jesus had caused light to shine and he felt newly born. Gratitude, not judgment, was the order of the day for him.
It's uncanny how gratitude always dispels judgment. It's as certain as the arrival of spring even after the coldest, harshest winter. We simply cannot have a heart filled with gratitude and judgment at the same time.
When we look at the world situation or the difficulties in our own life, we can easily find ourselves in a place of judgment.
It may be judgment flung at the President or at our spouse, either way, when we're not focused on gratitude, the flaws of others loom large and unsightly. Unfortunately, in the end we are the ones who are left stained and misshapen.
The next time you find yourself in judgment of another human being, ask yourself, “Is there anything in my life for which I am grateful?”
Gracious God, let praise and thanksgiving slake my soul and fill it full.