Loving or Judging – The Discussion Continues

Last week, I wrote a blog post that I summed up this way:

When we sow judgment, we reap judgment. What if we sowed love?

This spawned a pretty cool discussion, but since that discussion happened elsewhere in social media, you might have missed it. And since I think it’s a pretty valid discussion, I thought I would highlight it here. (And I promise it will fit into this week’s discussion on Kisses for Katie, if you’ll bear with me!)

My darling friend’s very valid point was that the Bible is very clear that as Christians, when we see each other walking dangerous paths, we must love one another enough to point out the danger on the way. I love this point and completely agree with it. If you see me stumbling into a minefield, I surely hope that you love me enough to warn me of what’s ahead!

I would also submit that it’s not just that simple.

Several years ago now, I spent some time lurking around bars in and around Greenville, NC. I put on my clubbing clothes, added some glitter to my makeup, invited some of my friends, and we went. We would go in and order a drink and listen to the band play until closing time on Saturday nights.

I was very careful not to let anybody “back home” know. Not because I was ashamed. Not because I felt that I was sinning. But because I knew that I would be judged. And I knew that because I worked for a religious organization, if people knew my activities, it could even possibly affect my employment.

From the outside looking in, maybe I did just look like a party-girl having fun on a Saturday night. But the people that might have judged me would never have known my true motive unless they asked me.

What was my true motive?

My brother’s band was the band playing in these bars. And because I knew that it was important to him—because I knew that it had the potential to heal our fractured relationship and to make him feel loved—I went. I drove the couple of hours up there. I sat in bars where the smoke was so heavy that it made my eyes burn and tear. And I sang along with every song from “Soulshine” to “Blue on Black” to “Cocaine.” And honestly, my brother’s and my relationship has never been stronger than it was during that time. Because he knew that he was worth more to me than my “religious” comfort zone—and if it came to it, even my job.

I was sowing love.

Now, what in the world does this have to do with Katie?

This week, Katie tells about getting to know a group of about three thousand people, living in a slum community called Masese. She tells about how when she first met them, they were strange, brash, and held her at arm’s length. At first, she wanted to help them because she could tell they needed help. But because there was no trust or relationship between them, she couldn’t really help them. Slowly, she began to become friends with them, one by one. And once their relationships started to grow, she wanted to help them not just because they needed help, but because she loved them. And because they trusted her, they would let her help.

Katie learned one of the most important lessons of all: you have to really know someone to earn the right to speak into their life.

Until you know someone—until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes—how can you even pretend to speak into their lives? How can you imagine that you know what’s best for them or what they need?

When we don’t know people or we don’t know a situation, yet we make a decision about who they are or how they should deal with their situation, that’s judgment. And that’s not sowing love.

How do you sow love instead of judgment, in your own life?

This post is part of a weekly discussion that my friend Jason Stasyszen and I are co-facilitating about the memoir, Kisses from Katie. You don’t have to read the book to stick around and chat with us—we love to hear what you have to say! If you’ve written a post on this topic, feel free to link up at the widget below. And make sure you drop by Jason’s place to see what he has to say!

About Sarah Salter


  1. Well said Sarah.

  2. Love is uncomfortable–period. Great points and illustration. We’ve lived as a family to try to help kids in need, especially through the foster care system. What we found though is that it’s not just the small kids, the parents (some still kids themselves) need a lot of love and help. We would hear so many foster parents trashing these “no good” parents with all sorts of names, but God really put it on our hearts to love them and help them any way we could. That doesn’t mean we were 100% or that it was easy, but setting our hearts this way has been powerful. There are too many stories to go into, but it wasn’t because we had to in the legal sense. We had a responsibility to the Father. Good stuff, Sarah! Thanks.

  3. Sounds like a great lesson to be learned- one we all need to take a refresher course on.

    Thank you for sharing your story, I know it was difficult because Christians do tend to cast plenty of stones- I think it makes them feel better. I know I have been guilty of this and I also know what it feels like to be wrongly judged. I take comfort in knowing God is the only one’s opinion who really matters.

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