Tuesday, September 21

Be curious, not judgmental

Scripture: Isaiah 41-42, Psalm 110, Matthew 3

Isaiah 42:18–20 

18 “Hear, you deaf; 

look, you blind, and see! 

19 Who is blind but my servant, 

and deaf like the messenger I send? 

Who is blind like the one in covenant with me, 

blind like the servant of the Lord? 

20 You have seen many things, but you pay no attention; 

your ears are open, but you do not listen.”

Observation

Through the prophet, the Lord accuses His people of being blind and deaf.  They see, but don’t pay attention; their ears are open, but they don’t listen.  It is a willful blindness and deafness.  Their minds are made up; nothing they see or hear will move them.  

Application

I think this is true of many of us today.  We are stubborn and set in our ways, and are blind and deaf to anything that challenges our beliefs or practices.  This drives me crazy…and yet I’m guilty too.  I am judgmental and dismissive of those with whom I disagree, more than I have ever been.  How can we—how can I—change?

Early this morning, I took my car in for some work.  The morning news was on the TV in the waiting room.  A gentleman walked in and made a disparaging remark about a politician on the screen.  I thought it disrespectful and inappropriate.  I didn’t respond, but I judged and ignored the man for my remaining time in the waiting room.  As I sat down for my PBJ, I realized how I had dismissed him because of this remark and missed an opportunity to engage him in a conversation about Jesus, which is the one thing that really matters!  I was “blind and deaf” to the Lord and this man in that moment.  Forgive me Lord.

I recently heard a quote misattributed to Walt Whitman: “Be curious, not judgmental.”  While Whitman didn’t write it, it’s still a great quote, and one the Lord has been using to move me in the right direction.  Rather than judging someone and dismissing them, I need to be curious.  Ask questions.  Try to understand their story and their position.  

This is my “new lens.”  Last weekend, Pastor Michael challenged us to identify our old lens that is distorting our perspective (blinding us), and identify a new lens to correct our vision.  This is the new lens I felt the Lord gave me.  Be curious, not judgmental.  I realized that being curious and asking good questions will not only help me understand and care for the other person, but may help the other person as well.  This is the secret of good coaching: to ask questions that provoke deep reflection.  A person is more likely to change his mind because of good questions that lead him to his own new conclusions than listening to me harangue him!  

Be curious, not judgmental.

Prayer: Lord, how I need Your help with this one.  The rancor and polarization of the last few years has made me “blind and deaf,” hard-headed and hard-hearted.  Soften my heart and make me truly curious about others rather than judgmental.