I have been noticing something in myself lately. In so many ways I am judgmental. On an everyday basis I judge people. Sometimes it’s who they are. Sometimes it’s their actions. Sometimes it’s both.
Recently I’ve noticed a trend in social media of sharing videos of girls in the hood fighting and beating on one another. When I first noticed one of these videos in my newsfeed I immediately wanted to watch it and I almost did except I did not want to sign up for another fb application (that’s a whole other blog post). After I skipped watching the video I noticed two things about myself in that moment:
1) I was so in need of a cheap laugh that I was going to watch two girls fighting on home video
2) Secretly I thought “I am better than those girls. So glad that I am not like them or hang with people like them.”
Immediately I was convicted. I began to see how my use of terms like skank, hood rat, ghetto, tacky, and the new one “ratchet” were full of judgment, self righteousness, and hypocrisy. I began to see that my passing along and sharing pictures that humiliated those living in poverty was Pharasaical and proud.
The new word is “ratchet” and while we may laugh at young women who are labeled “ratchet” and talk about those who wear prom dresses that are ratchet I wonder who Jesus would hang out with if he were on earth today?
Echoes of that same phrase “So glad that I am not like them or hang with people like them” were on the lips of the Pharisee in Luke 18:11-12:
The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ (Luke 18:11, 12 ESV)
The opposite prayer is spoken by the tax collector. If the Jews of 1st century Palestinr considered anyone to be “ratchet” it was these guys. They were looked down on as collaborators with the Roman empire, cheats, thieves, and even murderers.
The tax collector in Luke 18:13-14:
But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:13-14 ESV)
Jesus chose to hang with prostitutes, tax collectors, and sinners. We choose to hold them in contempt and use them for a cheap laugh. The truth is many of us who are Christians and aligned with the establishment would have been passed up by Jesus. He would have passed us up in favor of the ghetto, the tacky, the ratchet. He would have been right at home with those who “have no hometrainin and can’t get themselves together”. Why? Jesus was labeled as well. What do you think Nathaniel meant by the question “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46 ESV)
So before you click on that video or website for a cheap thrill or momentary feeling of superiority remember this: Jesus loves the ratchet!