To say that I have struggled to understand the meaning of “judge not unless you be judged” is an understatement.
I totally get it –
“Whatever you sow, you shall reap.”
“Whatever yardstick you use will be the one that will be used on you.”
“It is how you play the ball when it is in your court that matters.”
I purposed in my heart a long time ago… and am growing into the application of this goal.. and …am still getting there… “love people where they are.”
So much of what I have been taught has come from “twisted thinking” applied to the word of God. Man’s misconceptions have put meaning to Jesus’s words that He never meant to say. So, I am fighting to find the truth of what Jesus says about “Judge NOT.”
How do I deny the gift of discernment – understanding – in me? I can observe a situation and know the reason “why.” Time and again it has been confirmed that I was right in knowing the why. I listened to my grandma “know” and be right. I listened to my mom “know” and be right. It is almost like there was some extra sensing where they could tap into another level.
To the “rotten fruit” in my own life, I totally get it that the fruit is only a symptom – so, I ask “why” – “why do I do that which I would not do?” So often in tracing the pathway to the root, finding the “why” is an unresolved hurt or disappointment or place of bitterness. Now if that is true in my “fleshy moments,” perhaps that is true for others as well.
Since I was a child, the cry of my heart is “to know” my God. I want to know everything about Him…. His character, His promises, His love, His sufferings. When I look at His children and see the reflection of Him in them, I know a little more about Him…the beauty of a smile, the twinkle of humor, the strength of the athlete, the faithful husband, the tender mother.
But, I can’t help but see the distortions sometime. My love for them, my concern for their future, may or may not allow me to speak to their eternal destiny concerning the matter. But, it is not what I have observed or even understand as to the reason, “why,” whether it has personally involved me or not – it is my response.
At the point of observation, I must do a heart check.
Is there legal ground for that gives the enemy of my soul a “toe-hold” in the battle?
Do I feel haughty, better than them because, I am not like that? (That is legal ground.)
Do I feel fear, “Oh, my, what if I become like that?” (That is legal ground.)
Do I say, “Well, thank God I am not like that” when really I am. That is self-deception and a blatant lie. (That is legal ground.)
Dr. Malone, wise shepherd of the wounded sheep, says, “It is not what happens to you, but how you respond.”
Did I step into sin because of what I observed? Evaluation is not a sin. Observation is not a sin. Knowing the reason “why” is not sin. Pride, hatred, bitterness, lust, condemning them to hell, plotting revenge, unbelief in God, condescension… are a sin.
To this “round” with “Judge Not” – I conclude –
- while another’s decisions may make me sad because I understand the consequences of their actions will not be pleasant… I can’t control their decisions… if they ask, I can give them advice… love on them the best that I can…
- another person cannot make me “feel” anyway unless I allow them to… granted that is often easier SAID THAN DONE…
- most often, people’s mistreatment of me is because of THEM… their issues .. and I am just in the way… hurting people, hurt people…
- still other times, their “mistreatment” may be my twisted filter that is receiving something that is not even real… they really don’t think the way that I assume they are thinking or feeling toward me…
- or perhaps, they didn’t even mean to act the way they did… but my “expectations of how will act” defiled them into hurting me….
- in my non-judgmental expression of my opinion, let my neutral response be phrases like “how unfortunate” or “how interesting” or compassion to the situation with “how sad.”
The more I ponder this concept of “Judge Not” the more I seem to realize, this is another “strap in the bullwhip of self-flogging”… that in my quest to “be perfect, as my Heavenly Father is perfect”… I have believed the “twisted thinking” of toleration and have missed the meaning of the scripture totally. To rightly divide the word is to walk into light. To be able to admit, I am wrong, means I will be teachable to receive more truth. Do I think I have mastered this “Judge Not” thing? Nope, not at all. But I am trying.
While I do not have the right to haphazardly post my opinion on everyone I meet, branding them with my self-righteous label-maker, arrogantly shoving them into a box, I do have the responsibility to see them through God’s eyes – not their darkness, but their loveliness. What is God’s plan for their life?
Let the motivation of my heart, even when noticing irregularities, be… to love. Let mercy rise up in me and leave the “sentencing” to the real Judge…for others as well as myself.