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Tag Archives: Judging Others

Romans 14:10-14

Romans 14:10-14 [NLT]
10 So why do you condemn another believer? Why do you look down on another believer? Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 11 For the Scriptures say,

“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bend to me,
and every tongue will declare allegiance to God.’”

12 Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God. 13 So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall.

 

Dear God, to answer Paul’s questions in verse 10, it’s so that we can feel better about ourselves. I love to judge others because it make me feel smarter than I am, holier than I am–just better than I am. But Paul reminds us in verse 12 that one day I will be standing before you and you won’t be grading on a curve. You won’t put us on a scale of how I compared with this person or that person. No, it will be you and me and I will have to give you an account of my life and my actions.

If all of that is true, then why do so many of us live our lives comparing ourselves to others? I still remember being at a retreat in the late 90’s and hearing a man give his life story. My dad did his introduction, and I was fooled a little. My dad talked about everything this guy had accomplished by the time he was the age I happened to be at that moment. Before the man even talked, I felt like a loser. Then within five minutes the man explained how he had been in federal prison for embezzlement, had lost his wife and his kids, and now he was trying to rebuild his life. I immediately repented to you for looking at the outside of a man instead of looking deeper and considering what else might be a reality in his life.

Of course, now we all get to see each other’s best parts on social media. And we get to judge each other as well. We judge people if we see them posting pictures of partying too much. We judge them if we see them with the new family for which they left their first family. We allow ourselves to feel inferior to the person who seems to have it all.

Father, help me to take my eyes off of the world and to turn them to you. Help me to stop trying to make my own case through comparison to others, and to simply live faithfully. Lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from evil. And please forgive me for failing you so often. I am sorry.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2019 in Romans

 

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Every Life Has A Story

Dear God, I read a blog post that was shared on Facebook by a cousin. It’s one of those great reminders about judging/not judging others. It’s about remembering to at least consider the person near you might be going through something more than you understand and to give them a little latitude.

One of the things I show to new staff members and volunteers when they join our nonprofit is a Chick-fil-A training video. The video depicts all of the people in the restaurant at a given moment going about their business, but underneath it captions what’s really going on in their lives. One of the subtle things it does is show the employees as well as the customers. Yes, all of us have something going on.

Father, thank you for the reminder that I need eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart that can allow for the idea that damage done to the person next to me might be driving their behavior more than bad intentions. As I see board members this morning, my mentee at lunch, and staff, volunteers, patients, and family throughout the day help me to be a source of your peace to them. And please touch and heal my soul as well.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2019 in Miscellaneous

 

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Peter & John — 1 John 5:1-5

1 John 5:1-5 (NLT)
1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has become a child of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too. 2 We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey his commandments. 3 Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome. 4 For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. 5 And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.

 

Dear God, reading this letter, I can see where I have lived most of my life thinking of John as the promoter of love. I guess that’s why it caught me so off guard when I isolated the stories about him in the gospels and found that he was actually not very loving at all. There was something that Jesus saw in him that made him one of the “Big Three” in terms of the 12 disciples, but it’s never apparent what that was. Perhaps Jesus could see beyond what John was and look forward into what a redeemed John would look like.

It’s a little like Paul. As Saul, no one would have foreseen who he became as Paul, but your redemption turned his zealousness for you as a Jew to the truth of your oneness with Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I wonder how much of our greatest strengths as Christians are the things that defined the evil part of our nature pre-Christ. That’s an interesting thesis to consider.

As for me, how do I consider who I was before your redemption and who I am now? I guess, a lot like John and less like Paul, the thing you seem to be hammering out of me is judgmentalism. Not that I don’t still judge people. But I used to really judge people for not being who I thought they should be and not acting the way I thought they should act. Now, the more I learn from you about myself the more I am willing to extend mercy and love to others instead of judging them. I am better at looking for what they see as their righteous motivations in the moment instead of judging them as having sinister motives that are meant for my detriment.

That leads to how I evaluate others. Do I see someone’s sin, or do I see a character trait that can be redeemed and used for your glory? Do I take the time to see them with your eyes, or do I just judge them and cast them off?

Father, to quote a song, give me your eyes for just one second. Give me your eyes so I can see everything that I’ve been missing. Give me your love for humanity.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2019 in 1 John, Peter and John

 

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Peter & John — 1 John 3:1-6

1 John 3:1-6 NIV
[1] See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. [2] Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. [3] All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure. [4] Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. [5] But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. [6] No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.

Dear God, going back to verse one, is it good that we would be so into you that people wouldn’t recognize who we are? Is there a line between pursuing you and being righteous and being so heavenly minded that we are no earthly good (I stole that last part from someone I can’t remember from my childhood).

I read Fred Smith’s weekly blog post this morning and it happened to kind of coincide with this. It basically addresses insecurity and how sometimes our temptation is to use what we can to make ourselves feel equal to or better than others. It might be the independence that personal wealth provides that will make us feel untouchable. It might be knowing deep down that our hearts are still wretched so we don’t extend the mercy to others that you extended to us. I think that last one is the danger to verse one.

Of course, there is also the hubris and inexperienced zeal of youth. I think of young Christians and how on fire they can be and how judgmental of other Christians they can be. For example, I visited my grandparents when I was a young, newly discipling Christian. I was just shy of 20 and visiting them for my spring break. They took me to their weekly Bible study. I judged every person in that room as being lazy in their faith and not doing anything to outwardly reach out to others. Their faith felt completely dry to me. As I remember, I think I actually challenged my grandmother (maybe both of them) later. And maybe they needed to be challenged. But I’m sure I did it poorly. The experience of life has taken off some of my edges and added tact. The question is, are my edges gone completely? Do I have any remaining edge to pursue holiness myself and encourage it in others?

Father, help me to live a life dedicated to pursuing you and then flow through me into others around me. Make me salty and give the the courage you need me to have. Fred’s blog mentions Joseph (Jacob’s son) and his brothers. Joseph was foolish in how he handled his dreams. What give me hope for my life is that you had already factored Joseph’s foolishness into your plan and used it to accomplish your will. I pray that you will do the same for me.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2019 in 1 John, Peter and John

 

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Emails to God – Assuming the Worst in People (Esther 3:7-11)

7 In the twelfth year of King Xerxes, in the first month, the month of Nisan, the pur (that is, the lot ) was cast in the presence of Haman to select a day and month. And the lot fell on the twelfth month, the month of Adar.

8 Then Haman said to King Xerxes, “There is a certain people dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom who keep themselves separate. Their customs are different from those of all other people, and they do not obey the king’s laws; it is not in the king’s best interest to tolerate them. 9 If it pleases the king, let a decree be issued to destroy them, and I will give ten thousand talents of silver to the king’s administrators for the royal treasury.”

10 So the king took his signet ring from his finger and gave it to Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews. 11 “Keep the money,” the king said to Haman, “and do with the people as you please.”

Dear God, it can be dangerous to make a decision without first having all of the information. I am not old and wise yet, but the longer I live and the more I experience the more I realize that there are ALWAYS two sides to every story. There is ALWAYS more to be learned before a good decision can be made. Very few people have wicked motives. Very few people set out to hurt someone else. Those that are perceived by some to be wicked usually have a perfectly good explanation for the reason they did whatever it is they did. This is where Xerxes failed as a king. He never asked any of the Jews about Haman’s charge. He just assumed that they were a rebellious element within the kingdom because Haman told him they were.

I get to see this every day at work. There are patients here who can be manipulative, who lie, and who will say whatever they have to say to get their way, etc. They might be addicted to pain medications. They might have learned over time that the way to get their way is to be pushy. Because there are a few patients like this, it can be easy to paint all of our patients with the same brush. One can become cynical. But it is our job to try to cut through the layers of appearance and get at the truth. What is causing that person’s pain? Is there a legitimate way we can help them? Is it time to discontinue our services to them, or is there a way to be firm and yet merciful?

Father, this happens in every area of my life. It happens with my kids. It happens with my wife, my siblings, my parents, in-laws, etc. I can get offended and assume the worst of the person. The important thing is to try to get to the bottom of it and get the entire picture before I make a snap decision that is foolish. One thing I have found is that, with the exception of my kids who sometimes just do silly, selfish things, all of these others have no intention of doing me harm. There is simply a good reason why they did what they did. So please keep me from making the mistake Xerxes made. Help me to love others and have good relationship with them as they come into contact with me.

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2012 in Esther

 

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