So, Anne Jackson’s got this great thread going on her blog called “Keep your mouth shut.” Her question was, “What do you wish you could say in church but can’t?”

It’s registered interesting confessions, all the way from “I don’t think Jesus is the only way” to “I think my church is irrelevant.” What got me going, though, were comments like “Beth Moore is too skinny,” “That song sucked,” “Get a freakin’ clue,” etc. Stuff coming from venom, not love. So I commented on that. Suggested that perhaps this wasn’t being helpful.

And had a couple of folks in particular jump down my neck for being a judgmental pastor. One even said he loves sitting around playing mind games with people like me, loves tossing out statements he knows people will judge him for, then acting all upset when it actually happens. One responder actually insulted me, and in my next post I forgave her, and she jumped all over me for that, too.

My comment here is this: Anger and bitterness create relentless filters through which we see the world. We read everything as a judgement, everything as an attack. We can’t hear God speaking through each other when we’re holding on to those filters. Or at least, not very well. My heart aches for those in that boat on that blog thread, knowing there are millions more hurting like they are.

The scary thing is, like a fish in water, we can’t see our own filters, at least, not unless God or circumstance or a loving person points them out. Maybe we all (me included) need to take some time today and ask God, “What filters do I see life through? Criticism through? Pain through?” And maybe we need to ask some significant others that question too. And brace ourselves for the answers.

They might hurt. But scales may fall from our eyes, plugs fall out of our ears, and we may see and hear all the better for it.