Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
39 He also told them this parable: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit?40 The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.
41 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Last Summer the community of Twi-hards was shaken with the news that Kristen Stewart cheated on Robert Pattinson. Responses ranged from disbelief to angry death threats.  Sobbing, wailing, and accusatory reaction videos popped up on Youtube garnering a staggering amount of views.  Twitter was ablaze and a great cry unlike any other from teens and stay-at-home moms alike could be heard across the land.
 “How could you, Kristen!” they cried.
 “I would have never done that to Rob.” They declared.
You’ve ruined Twilight for me!” They mourned.
With just a simple photo spread in US Weekly and a regretful statement from Kristen, Twilight fans’ dreams quickly diminished.

They had expectations of Kristen as a girlfriend to Robert Pattinson that was not met.
 I could understand why this news hit them so hard. 
I had expectations too, of a completely different nature though.  Taking on such a vital role to the story of “Twlight”, I expected Kristen to portray the vulnerable, charmingly awkward, Austen-reading, compassionate daughter to Charlie, Bella Swan of the books—not the edgy, punk rock, emo, lip-biting, staggered breathing, odd-pausing Bella we see in the Saga’s films.
Those traits that I loved from the books, comprised the “essential Bella” and since she did not portray them well, I judged her and cried, “you’ve ruined Twilight for me!”
That is, until I stood at the Redbox and debated renting, “Breaking Dawn Part Two”.
I really, really wanted to see the twist ending and how they handled Jacob’s imprinting on Renesmee.  Bella’s transformation was one of my favorite moments in the book and even though I couldn’t stand Kristen, I figured enough special effects and an awesome soundtrack could mitigate her shortcomings.  But, I knew the moment I watched the movie, all my frustration would come flooding back.  I’d mourn the loss of one of my favorite stories again.  I’d be angered by Kristen’s stylistic choices that differed from my expectations. I’d be annoyed and a cry of “you’re ruining it” would well up within me anew.
But then I had a thought: What if I watched the movie for what it is: a different entity from the book?  Yes, it’s based on a story I loved, but what if I viewed the movie and the book as two distinct stories? Two separate Twilights, I you will.
So, I rented it and chose to watch it with fresh eyes.  I didn’t judge Kristen’s portrayal by my standard of “essential” Bella.  I let her be the best Bella she could be and something amazing happened. As I released judgment on her, I started to like the movie! I found things about the movie that I appreciated, even though they differed from the book.  Gradually, I accepted Kristen as Bella. Granted she wasn’t the Bella I would have hoped for, but oddly, that didn’t matter anymore. Recognizing that there are two Bellas—the ideal and
the embodiment–I could enjoy each of them without imposing one onto the other. 
Sometimes I do this with people too. 

I judge them based on my standard of “essential friend” or “essential mentor”, “essential husband” or “essential son/daughter” and oh, they better not fall short of my expectations.  If the embodiment and the ideals do not match up completely, I would blame them for ruining our relationship and emotionally cut them off.  Holding them to a standard they couldn’t realistically attain, I’d point out their specks of offense, while the plank of judgementalism juts hazardously from my eye. 
This is what’s happening in two relationships that God is asking me to find peace in this Lent. He is calling me to forgive and I don’t want to.  They’ve both deeply hurt me and fallen short of my expectations.
But, what if I viewed them separately from my ideal?  What if I chose to look at each person for who they are—not what I expect from them, and not what I deem “essential” to be in relationship with me—but for who they are.  Could I accept them?  Could I learn to love the way they embody their role in my life? Could I put their offense to bed by acknowledging that maybe, just maybe it’s unrealistic for them to be my ideal, just as it’s unrealistic for Kristen to satisfy mine and every other Twilight fans’ ideal?
I think so. 
I think that’s the first step towards forgiveness: recognizing that people are just human and they will never fully meet our expectations.
Who we hope them to be, and who they are, are almost always two separate things. They will make mistakes, they will fall short, and they will make choices that we don’t necessarily agree with. Our job is not to hold them to the standards of our ideals, as if we have the ability to accurately judge, but to authentically relate to them where they are and find joy in the relationships we do have.
We can find enjoy in the embodiment when we relax our hold on the ideal. 
Embracing this truth, has given me the freedom to forgive without feeling violated or compromised.  Yes, they missed the mark. Ideally they would have been “perfect”, but no one is perfect, none but God. This humbling reminder helps me appreciate my ideal for what it is, a great goal to hope for and indications of ways to pray for the people in my life, but not a measure for them to live up to.
Jesus is asking me to forgive and since I’ve been forgiven for so much, I’ll do it. I’ll also release judgement for the ways they’ve hurt me.  Jesus does say whatever measure we judge with, we will be judged and I’m scared to death to suffer under the weight of judgment I so carelessly heap upon others.
Instead of judging unfairly, I’m going to take my cues from God, who knowing that in my own strength I don’t meet his ideal, still loves me for who I am— the best Osheta I can be.  
So, Kristen Stewart is ok in my book.  She was the best Bella she could be.  My two friends who’ve hurt me will be ok in my book soon, because God is giving me the grace to say, “I forgive you.  It’s ok you didn’t meet my ideal. You’re being the best you, you can be”.  
Who is God asking you forgive?  Who are you holding to an unfair standard of your ideal? Who do you need offer grace to and sat, “I forgive you. It’s ok you don’t meet my ideal.  You’re being the best you, you can be?”

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