Sideways glances, hushed whispers, awkward introductions… It’s a sea of judgment and no one is offering a life preserver. We pretend not to notice, put on our game faces for the benefit of others and move on, but the sting lasts. It is so easy to wrap-up in the blanketing shame that comes from the judgment of others. Worse yet- what about the times WE are the ones with pointed fingers and strong opinions?
Today judgment is rampant. Everyone seems to have an agenda, an opinion, and a harsh word for those who are not in alignment with their plans. We are so quick to speak, and so slow to listen. I challenge you to pause. Take time with the Holy Spirit before jumping to conclusions, before responding, before judging. Seek the wise council of the one who dwells within you, the one who knows your heart.
Matthew 7:5 is a commonly referred to verse in regard to judging others. Surely you have heard, “Judge not lest ye be judged.” The Message version is powerful:
“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.”
The standard by which one judges others is the same standard by which judgment will befall that person. We see our sin so boldly in our neighbor that it convicts us. When this is the case there are two options: to focus on our own sin and clean it up (repent), or to “jump on their failures, and criticize their faults…”- It’s safe to say that the latter is the more common choice. Seeing ourselves through the same lens we use to see others is hard. Admitting our faults is never easy, but until we realize that the sin we so easily call out in others is likely the one that rests neatly in our own closets, we cannot move forward. And oh sister, how He wants us to move forward!!! So, my challenge is this- what is it that you often see tainted in others? Examine your motives, look closely at your comments, then seek Him within you. I know it’s hard, but hard is His specialty. Wash your face and move forward. Live in His fullness. You’re worth it.
This is a beautiful version of Ephesians 3:19 from The Message and it is Paul’s blessing for you:
My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.