Advent: Day 4

Each Advent, I commit to reading the daily lectionary, the Bible readings that prepare our hearts for the celebration of Christ’s coming. This year, I’m writing a brief reflection on these readings. It’s Advent, day four.

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Readings: Isaiah 49:1-6; 1 Corinthians 4:1-16; Isaiah 55:1-5; John 1:35-42

This morning’s readings are a gripping lot. From the sword-tongued servant in Isaiah to the come-and-see admonition of Jesus, these passages are full of ponder-worthy scriptures. And yet, despite all these scriptures, one small sentence in the writings of Paul hooked me.

“I do not even judge myself.”

It is Advent, a season of preparation, and as we continue the journey of preparation, it is natural to turn to self-examination. In that self-examination, though, how prone are we to judge ourselves? How often do we size ourselves up as having fallen short of either real or arbitrary standards? Isn’t self-judgment such a death spiral?

I’m a failure.

I’m a failure.

I’m such a failure.

Woe is me, the failure.

Crash.

Burn.

Self-examination is a worthy task, a task necessary to prepare our hearts for coming of the Christ. It allows us to see just where the black thread has tightened, where it’s constricted, where it chokes. But self-reflection does not require self-judgment or self-flagellation. It doesn’t require us to enter the death-spiral of self-diagnosed failure.

There is only one judge, and he’d rather bring his Kingdom with kindness than beat the hell out of you. It’s a hard truth, but believe it.

You are not your own judge. In your Advent preparation consider the words of Paul, and refrain from judging yourself. Then,

be kind to yourself.

Be kind to yourself.

Be kind to yourself.

Do not judge, and be kind to yourself.

 

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