for a “friend” (and maybe a little for me, too)

The number of times this phrase has slipped through my lips.

“I’m not judging, I’m just sayin’…”

Followed by my pronouncement of the wrongness of an action or a person.

Too many times to count.

I recently talked to a “friend” who was really struggling with an issue.  It involved another person, a fellow believer, and my friend truly believed that the other was wrong in her action.

And, maybe she was.

And yet…

As I soaked in Romans chapter 2 today… the word of the Lord was made clear to me.  Not only concerning my “friend”, but also me & my mouth & my heart.

“You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgement on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgement do the same things.  Now we know that God’s judgement against those who do such things is based on truth.  So when you, a mere man, pass judgement on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgement?  Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?”*

I read this, and immediately thought, “but I don’t judge people…”.

And then I read this definition:

“the ability to judge, make a decision, or form an opinion objectively, authoritatively, and wisely, especially in matters affection action; good sense…”**
Umm, excuse me?
My idea about what judging was just got all messed up.
I thought judging was when I determined the rightness or wrongness of an action based primarily on my emotion… and that the uncontrolled emotional part of it was the bad part.
I. Was. Wrong.
It’s not emotional (though it can be).
Did you catch the definition?
The person that lives that definition is being objective!  They are wise (worldly-wise, not necessarily godly-wise).
As all of this worked through my brain & my heart, I asked the Lord…
“Then what?  What do I do when I see something I know to be wrong?  What do I do if I’m in a situation like my friend, one in which the actions of the other believer-person are not for the best, nor were the decisions they made done while seeking Your face???”
And, as he always does… the God of the universe spoke to my heart through his Spirit.
“Abide in me”
Excuse me?  I need some practical application here, God.  Abide in me???  I know that.  I do.  But what do I do HERE and NOW?????
And again…
“Abide in me”
Lord!  Empty my head, empty my heart of those judgmental thoughts I have!  Even those I hold on to because I don’t see them as being judgmental… show me what they are and yank them out.  Those thoughts I think are rational and true… those are being used even more so by the Enemy!  Eve rationalized her way into eating the fruit… it wasn’t all a big emotional mess!  How many times have I rationalized myself into judging others???
Fill me, fill the holes left behind with your presence…
And then it clicked…
How else will those holes be filled but by abiding in Him?
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.  Now remain in my love.  If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.  I have told you think so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.  My command is this:  Love each other as I have loved you…” ***
I want to remain (abide) in Christ so that I can love others the way He loves me.  I want to be able to be a person of JOY… not temporary happiness based on my circumstances, but true joy that finds contentment in all situations because I am growing more and more Christ-like.
Forbearance:  “Refraining from something, patient endurance; self-control”**
If I remain in Christ, and let his Spirit fill me (and y’all, it’s got to be daily!), I will be able to forbear with those I once would have judged. I will love patiently.  I will practice self-control with joy.
Doesn’t mean that there won’t be times the Lord doesn’t call me to speak the truth in love to another.  I think He will.
It DOES mean that those times I’m veiling my judgement with “speaking the truth in love” will become less and less.
It’s a thin veil; one God can see right through.
**************************************************************************************************************
References
*  Romans 2:1-4
** definitions from http://www.dictionary.com
*** John 15:9-12
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