We recently met up with a friend at Coors Field for a fun night of baseball. Behind me sat two women, also enjoying the fine May weather and a win for the home team. I spent most of the night passing out snacks, because that’s what I do, as a mom. And it was stadium food after all – yum, just yum.
These women behind us knew that baseball and stadium snacks went hand-in-hand. But this one phrase caught my attention above others. It was sweet and it was tender, an expression of genuine gratitude between two young women, living in a world full of judgement and condemnation.
“Thank you for not judging me…”
Her friend was struck by the phrase too.
“I like hot dogs,” was her simple response, with a shrug of the shoulders.
It was the words left unspoken which spoke grace to her friend.
Why would I judge you? Who cares if you want two hot dogs? Even if I thought hot dogs were disgusting, it’s your life and you can eat hot dogs if you want- loads of them. Because I love you. I don’t love you because you only eat one hot dog. I think I love you more because you ate two.
This is tending friendship with non-judgement.
So often we haphazardly apply judgement because someone’s choice is different than our own-
“I wouldn’t do that.”
“I wouldn’t eat that.”
“I wouldn’t say that.”
Of course you wouldn’t. That’s fine. I don’t eat fresh tomatoes. I don’t drive the speed limit. I don’t always make my kids pick up after themselves.
You probably do. That’s awesome, because you’re not me and I’m not you.
Friendship is where lives meet and we say “Me too!”
That same friendship is tended when we continue to meet and say, “I’m so glad we’re different!”
Our best peeps are the people who understand who we are, but also help us to be better versions of ourselves with the help of their unique insights and ideas.
This cannot happen in the midst of judgement.
We get enough of that. We scroll through Facebook or Instagram and see all the opinions people have and the ways they live differently than we do. We go to work and hear how we should do things differently. We look at our kids and pray they turn out ok, even when we make all of our finest mistakes on them.
Judgement is all around us and judgement just is. It exists. But it doesn’t have to seep in to friendship.
Friendship is a safe place. It’s a place to be honored and cared for, and to honor and care alongside. Friend is in fact one of the highest honors we can bestow on someone because it shows us that we are chosen and loved.
God chose us through His Son, Jesus Christ; despite our weirdness and despite our sins. Creating us was an act of love from our Father, but the Son chose us as friends on that cross.
Christ freed us from judgement and tells us that it is finished. If our own judgement is completely righteous in Christ, than why would our friendships be any different.
So today, grab a good friend. Sit around and laugh about what you have in common and what you see differently. Eat two hot dogs. Drink something festive, and tend to that friendship with grace – judgement free.