Dude… I said LOVE not Judge

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If Jesus were still walking this earth in human form today, I wonder what he would say.  I think he would be like “Dude, you’re getting this all wrong.  I said follow me and you’re doing what?  Not actually following me.  You want to go to Heaven, but you would rather play video games, go shopping, sit on the couch and watch TV, play on your iPhone than to tell people about me?  That’s not part of our agreement kiddo.”  Put those things down, pick up your cross daily, and follow me.  The thing is:  Times are changing.  People have literally said this for hundreds of years.  Our generation looks at the previous one and we say:  “What’s wrong with them?  It’s just a thing.  We have jobs, and kids, activities, and more stuff than we can even keep up with.  People in biblical days had plenty of responsibility as well though, just less distractions.  They had their priorities in check.  I mean…  I would absolutely love to move to another country to reach others who have never had access to hearing about Christ and his love.  The thing is I’m divorced and now remarried with kids in the mix.  I can’t really legally just up and move to Africa with my joint custody child.  I could move without him, but that isn’t an option.  To those of us who don’t have the option of wandering the world telling others about Christ, what if there was something we could do?  Something that could change not only the mindset and actions of our family’s inner core but others too.  Well, there is.  It just literally takes a LOT of work and molding.  Sometimes it means stepping outside of our comfort zones.  And, sometimes it means we must change.  Just when you thought you were nice and comfy, right?

Judging

Quoting my home girls Salt-N-Peppa:  “There’s only one true judge and that’s God, so chill and let my father do his job.”  I want to make it clear that Salt-N-Peppa never have nor never will trump God, but they are some pretty chill chicks with some valid lines so I’ll drop them here…  So, the Bible has multiple references about judging one another.  Here are a couple of my favorites:

*Romans 14:13 “Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.”  People already struggle enough on a daily basis.  Even those who seemingly have all their “crap together”.  Why tear someone down or prevent them from reaching their full potential?  What gain does that give us?  What if we all just helped clear paths?

Luke 6:37″Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”  This is easy, simple, and straight forward.  Or it should be at least.   

I reflect on my past when I have judged others.  I would look at someone’s clothes or hair or behavior and think:  “Wow.  They’re winning.  Did they even look in the mirror this morning?”  *Hair Stylists are some of the worst when it comes to this.  I’m a hair stylist who has repented so I have inside knowledge.*  In that moment maybe it made me feel a little better about myself.  Maybe I said it to someone else and they laughed and thought it was funny.  The thing is, that behavior is contagious.  People see you do it, think it’s funny, know you’re a good person, so it’s fair game for them to follow suit.  It is a chain reaction.  In the end just like the scripture reads:  Do not judge and you will not be judged.  I judged people, had a series of life events that knocked me on my butt.  I didn’t know it then, but I needed to be humbled.  Over a period of about 4 years I can confidently say I was judged an equal amount to the judgment I have dealt out to others over my lifetime.  What I realized during that time is that some of the most judgmental people in the world are Christians.  Why is this?  Do we think we are better than others?  Do we think we are more entitled than people who aren’t Christians?  What are we entitled to?  Do we think that since we “have it all together” that others should too, and If they don’t it’s their own fault?  Whatever the reason…  It isn’t ok.  Why would people who have Christ and his love in their hearts, see you fall down and not reach out a hand to help you back up?  Why would they talk about you behind your back?  Why would they laugh and point at you and say terrible things?  Why would they want to kick you while you’re down?  I don’t know.  I don’t have that answer.  It’s just a thing.  Listen guys, everyone screws up, sometimes daily.  It is our jobs as Christians to build them back up.  You say:  “It’s so hard and takes so much work.  They don’t appreciate it.  They use me.  They take advantage of my kindness.  They keep repeating the same bad behavior, why would I want to keep extending myself to them?  Sometimes things get complicated, and the grey areas of what you should and shouldn’t do gets fuzzy.  Tough love has to happen sometimes.  But, Basic love is just easy.

Here’s an exercise:

Take my life for example.  What would your typical reaction be to hearing someone has had an affair and they got pregnant by a married man?

Would you think:  Home wrecker, whore, she deserves every bad thing that comes her way.  Would you tell other people about her shortcomings?  Would you give her dirty looks in public?  Would you see her struggling and not help her because you think she should struggle?  Would you laugh about bad things that continue to happen to her?  Would you stop talking to her because you don’t want to be seen associating with someone who did something like that… after all what would people think of you?

or…  Would you see her and stop her to ask her if there’s anything you can pray for and with her about, hug her, and make sure she is alright?

Take a minute to think about what Jesus would do?  You’re not Jesus you say?  Right… but you’re a saved Christian who is supposed to be the hands and feet of Jesus.  Invite her to church, pray with and for her, smile at her, there are so many things that can be done to meet her at her worst and then build her back up.  You say why would you want to reward someone who has cheated on her husband and wrecked two homes?  Because God loves her just like he loves you.  The two of you are equal in God’s eyes.  Ouch.  You mean people that murder, rape, steal, do drugs, have AIDS, and commit other horrible acts…  God loves them just like he loves me?  Yep.  How?  Because we are all his sons and daughters.  The thing is that he loves us when we don’t even love him.  What if those people who do the previously mentioned terrible things actually felt God’s love?  What if God put them in YOUR path to set the example, to shine the light, or to show his example of love through you onto them?  What if our one job in life was to reach that person we made fun of or kicked while they were down and we failed to do that?  What if because we failed they never had a chance to know God?  What if because we failed and they didn’t know God they died and went to hell?  Wow, right?

While we are all human and will continue to fail; it is extremely important to recognize those times that God could be testing us.  Try to see a test he has put in our paths each and every day.  Does the woman in front of you in the grocery store look stressed and frazzled?  What can you do or say to brighten her day?  Could holding the door open for someone help them?  What if you said yes to something today instead of saying no?  We are to seek the lost and help lead them to Christ.  Why would anyone look at a Christian who is judgmental and think:  “I want to become a Christian just like them!”?  Would love or judgment win them to Christ? 

Can you make a difference?  The answer is yes.  Eliminate judgment out of your life today.  If you feel a negative thought about someone creeping in, think really hard about something positive about that person instead.  Tell God sorry and keep doing this until a permanent change happens.  I won’t lie.  It’s hard.  When achieved though, it’s so rewarding.  For real.

God used me and continues to work in me daily.  I went from having an affair, getting divorced, being a single mom on food stamps and government assistance to standing at the front of Church Service in a Homeless Shelter while holding hands and praying with a drug addict that had AIDS.  Do I have AIDS?  No.  Have I ever been a drug addict?  No.  Am I better than him?  Nope.   Am I at the peak of my life?  No way.  I have so much further to go.  I just have an understanding of what it feels like to be alone and at the bottom.  God uses me to reach others who need to be reached.  He may not need me daily, but I’m here on an as needed basis.  He can use you too.  Just ask him to, and then listen when he gives you a job!

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