Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Me, Honest Abe, Oprah & Peyton Manning

At age 18, I took a Myers-Briggs type indicator test in my college psychology class. The Myers-Briggs is a self-analysis test designed to pinpoint each person's personality type, preferences and strengths.
It's based on eight character traits.
Extroversion or Introversion.
Sensing or Intuition.
Thinking or Feeling.
Perceiving or Judging.
The results of my test showed that I was an ENFJ...
An extroverted, intuitive, feeling, judgmental type o' gal.
(Coincidentally that was the exact result of my dad's test when he took it....also Abraham Lincoln, Oprah Winfrey & Peyton Manning!)
I wore those results like a badge of honor, so proud was I of all of my character traits and how they would help shape the rest of my life and my career.

Little did I know how, later, I would regret the "J."

I've been thinking alot about judgment lately.
It's probably because it's Lent and one of my Lenten promises is to attend Stations of the Cross each Friday evening at my church, a reenactment of the most ghastly and most famous of all acts of judgment in the history of mankind.
Jesus's walk to Calvary and death on the cross.
I love Stations.
But I hate them.
It's gotten to the point where I can hardly bear listening and reading about Jesus' death.  The "F" part of my ENFJ is sensitive to a fault.  That feeling part of me sees in my mind's eye the nails driven into Christ's flesh.  It makes me physically sick.

Sometimes I see it from the crowds perspective, watching the horror of this brutal act, nauseous and pale from the sounds and the sights.
Often I see it from Mary's perspective, a mother weeping and worried, wanting only to take away the pain of her child.  I cannot imagine her agony.
Mostly, I see it from today's perspective of a sinner who wants only to take back the awful deeds she's done.  The deeds, like so many before mine, which required Jesus's death.  Those deeds which are covered and forgiven by His selfless act. 
And Retch.

That J part of me is a hideous reminder of the times that I criticized and condemned, convicted and sentenced another sinner. 
How could I? 
Like the Pharisees and scribes in John 8, I thought it was my job to discern right from wrong and pass judgment on the proverbial adulterous woman and all of those who sinned "big." 
Oh, how I wish I had been more like Jesus and stopped, waited, stooping to write in the sand and contemplate rather than run my big mouth in condemnation. 
Oh, how grateful I am for that redemptive phrase, "Let any of you who is without sin to cast the first stone at her." 
Oh, how grateful I am that God is not nearly as harsh in His judgment of me as I have been on others. 
I shudder to recall how many stones I have thrown.
Yet more so, I shudder to think of the number that have not been thrown at me because of His grace.

My J is softer now. 
She's less likely to jump in and decree the need for a harsh verdict than she used to be. 
And when she is too quick about it these days, I have learned to reign her in. 
Most times now I stop. 
(Note the clarification "most times.")
I stoop. 
I write in the sand and wait for the Holy Spirit to fill my soul...
fill it with words and prayers and songs of forgiveness and understanding.

Today I strive for something more than judgment.
I strive to be an ENF(WO)P...
An extroverted, intuitive, feeling woman of prayer.


  1. Your words spoke to me on Palm Sunday. The walk with Luke through the Passion was heart rending. It burns when I join the crowd in saying "Crucify him, crucify him." How can a human being call for that judgement and punishment on another? How can we be forgiven for what we have done?

  2. Ugh, yes, Searcher...hard to believe we can be forgiven because of how we have condemned Him. But thankfully it is written:

    "For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life." - Romans 5:10


    "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." - 1 John 1:9

    I lived my previous life in a sea of guilt and self-condemnation, thinking I would never be worthy of forgiveness. But today, as sickened as the Passion still makes me, I know I am redeemed by His death. And to continue to condemn myself in the face of that sacrifice would be to squander it. So I pluck myself up by the bootstraps daily and remind myself that I am worthy - simply because I am a child of God. And just as I, who am only human, love my children, so He loves Me - but infinitely more because He is God.

    1. My father asked me Friday why it is called "Good Friday", understandably an odd moniker for a day when we crucified Jesus. I told him it could only be called good if it were seen in its true light of the Resurrection.