Devotional Thoughts: A Judgmental Spirit

Jidge

“What you make fun of in other people will happen to your baby,” she said.  If you make fun of a person with a disability, she says your baby will come out that way.  This is the culture way up in the mountains of Guatemala where people still live on dirt floors and have thatched roof homes.  My daughter has a sensitivity towards others.  While in public, if we saw something strange in a person and pointed it out to one another she’d let us have it and say something like, “What’s that person done to you?  Leave them alone, let them be.”  Oh now we meddle in each other’s lives!  Some even get high on correcting other people.  Others lash out with unbridled comments that can be so hurtful to another.

Yes, I do believe we scream the loudest about what we struggle with the most.  What we get most angry about is probably the thing we dislike most about ourselves.  Self reflection and evaluation is healthy.

These words of Jesus are pretty terrifying!  Thankfully I have read them in the context of the whole Bible so I know God is loving.  I also know God is the only one true and final judge.  Many around us judge and draw up conclusions about us, our choices and our actions.  When we choose to point a finger we fail to realize that in this action we point 3 fingers back at ourselves.  This idea comes from the Bible and is advice that should be heeded.

Regardless of what we think of someone God requires us to treat all people with love and respect.  Some people are hard to respect.  Others are hard to love.  This takes work because it does not come naturally.  Jesus took this a step further in requiring us to even love our enemies.  I’ve read story after story on persecution.com of Christians loving and praying for those who persecute them.  This is a God given desire that only those who follow God have the capability to possess.

My teens say I’m judging any time I express an opinion.  If I say I don’t like this type of cereal they pronounce that I’m judging the cereal!  There’s a difference in expressing an opinion and passing judgement.  Liking or not liking a food, a shirt or a movie isn’t being judgmental.  It’s merely expressing an opinion.  Might I suggest that being judgmental is a character trait that none of us enjoy in another person.  It’s coming to conclusions and determining things that are not ours to determine.  It’s examining another person and passing a sentence upon them.  Who are we to think we have the authority to do this?  Might we, once again, be playing God?

I can have an opinion about what’s right and what’s wrong, but spending time examining the lives of others is God’s path, not ours.  Now, I do not believe we should enable another to do things that are harmful to themselves.  For example, I’ve learned the hard way that handing money to someone on the street is probably enabling an addiction.  There are other ways to help someone.  Am I being judgmental in saying this?  I’m not at all saying that all people who ask strangers for money are addicts, yet I know that a high percentage of them are.

The verses following these tell us to remove the plank from within our own eye before pointing out the speck in our brother’s eye.  I’d venture to say that the one who has a judgmental spirit probably has a much larger plank in his eye than the one who isn’t judging and is choosing to pray for that person.

The bottom line is that judgmental-ism doesn’t get us anywhere and doesn’t help anyone.  Let’s choose thoughts and behaviors that lift one another up, encourage one another and love people who aren’t anything like us at all. We might just discover a new found joy.  Let’s step down from our self-proclaimed throne. let go and choose to live another way.  Like momma said, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

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