As I drove into the Starbucks parking lot, I saw a large gray Buick pull into a place reserved for those with disabilities. The lot wasn’t full, so I left an empty space on the driver’s side of the Buick and pulled in two spots over.
I looked over, expecting to see an elderly woman driving the car. But instead, I saw a younger man with long hair and a hoodie. If I encountered him in a dark parking garage, let’s just say I’d be mentally reviewing my knowledge of self-defense.
“Some jerk is driving his grandma’s car and taking advantage of her disabled license plate,” I thought to myself.
I can’t stand it when people park in those spots and don’t need them. I’m far from perfect, but that’s something I’ve never been tempted to do. And in that moment, looking at the young man committing a grievous offense, I judged him harshly. I looked down on him from my tower of parking perfection.
I love rules. To be more precise, I love the rules I can follow. Don’t commit adultery. Check. Attend worship regularly. Double check. Don’t take God’s name in vain. Got it covered.
But when I start thinking about scriptures exhorting me to love my enemies, I start squirming. I can’t even patiently and sacrificially love the people who mean the most to me. Be content with what I have? Consider others more significant than myself? Wait, there’s got to be a loophole in here somewhere.
That’s how it is with judging others, isn’t it? I’m quick to judge those who sin in ways I don’t. And I’m quick to ignore sin in others that I’d rather not face in myself.
When I’m secretly shaking my finger at others, I’ve forgotten I’m dependent on God’s grace to cover all my sin. I’ve forgotten that I’m not accepted because I can keep any of the rules. I’m accepted because Christ kept God’s law perfectly and died to save my rule-breaking soul. As a sinner saved by grace, I am called to extend grace to others.
Back in that Starbucks parking lot, I gathered my things and started to get out of the car. I watched as the young man in the Buick emerged from his car with a significant limp. He hurried to the door and opened it for a woman as she approached the coffee shop.
The only jerk in the parking lot that morning was me.Share
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