Read His Words Before Ours!
“Who does she think she is spouting off her credentials as if the rest of us aren’t qualified too? That’s not a great way to
make friends in a new company!”
Whenever she wasn’t traveling and was in the office, I had this same thought, but then the Lord reminded me of a passage in Matthew 7. Jesus is teaching to stop judging “her” for the splinter in “her” eye and worry about the giant plank in our own.
What was my plank?
Judging her for something I had done months early when I transferred to the department.
Then recently, I judged a friend for getting into some serious trouble. Oh, I was high on my horse, passing out judgement like it was free candy day.
God’s words in John 15:17 crashed over me, “Love one another.”
What was my problem?
Why was I doing these things?
I was looking at others through my own lens.
Unfortunately, I still do that much too often. It’s pretty easy for us to get caught up in our own standards of “I would never”,
“That’s not a good way to handle things”, or even
“That’s not very godly or Christ-like.”
We pass our judgement and think nothing of it.
But what about when their “I would never” is the very thing we struggle with?
What if the way we would handle that situation isn’t what’s best for them?
Suppose we worried about our own areas for growth instead of focusing on theirs?
We forget that God never told us to judge others with condemnation because He doesn’t condemn. (Romans 8:1) In fact, He says “Do not judge.” Not just once, but over and over, in places like Matthew 7:1, Luke 6:37 and James 4:12. This kind of judgment of one another comes from a heart of jealousy, competition, arrogance, and self-righteousness.
All of which are in stark contrast to God’s character. (Note that we aren’t talking about righteous, brotherly/sisterly confrontation of sin, which we are most definitely called to do!)
James doesn’t only call out believers for this arrogant judging though, He doesn’t want us complaining about each other either. (James 5:9, James 4:11, 1 Peter 4:9) If you think about it, when we judge, are we not also complaining about that person’s imperfect nature?
But aren’t we all imperfect here on earth? This was Jesus’ point!
Instead of judging others we should be doing something else God commands.
So how do we go from judging to loving?
When God convicted me about judging my friend, I felt nudged to pray for her.
I hadn’t done the most loving thing you can do for someone — pray.
It cost me just a few minutes, but changed my entire perspective.
If given the opportunity, sharing your struggle with the same or similar thing moves you from self-righteousness to caring and understanding. Sharing verses of encouragement is also a very practical way to love instead of judge. You never know how much one verse can give someone just enough hope for that moment, day, or journey.
These loving acts are also acts of wisdom.
Proverbs 8 describes the importance of wisdom and the rewards for living wisely, which includes loving others without condemnation. In verse 18 a few rewards for living wisely include: riches, honor, lasting wealth, and righteousness.
Wisdom is God’s gift!
But His benefits include much more. Revelation 5:12 says Christ received power, riches, wisdom, strength, honor, glory and blessing. Since we are co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17), these valuable treasures are also available to us! It doesn’t mean we all walk around with exquisite material possessions, but it does mean we have an inheritance in Jesus that will never fade!
I tried to compare the short-lived satisfaction I might get from judging others with the eternal riches of Christ, but it’s not even worth mentioning.
Is it better to do things my way or to focus on living like Jesus?
How does my “wisdom” for life stack up against what God has appointed me to do by living wisely for Him? (John 15:16)
The best, most wise thing I can do, day after day, is to focus on following Jesus with all that I am, which means loving others well and growing in understanding of who God is through studying Scripture.
As I focus on following, my Father will delight my heart in much sweeter ways than any temporary pleasure I might have in straying into sin with my words or heart attitudes.
I’m learning to follow better by asking myself some questions when I start to judge, complain, or do something unloving.
Am I judging this person because it reminds me of my own past or current behavior?
Will doing this draw me closer to God in any way? Will it draw this person closer to God?
Does this reflect God’s wisdom?
How can I turn what I am headed toward into an act of love?
Sisters, let us be rich in the Lord and rich toward each other by loving wisely!
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Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!
Thanks for joining us today as we journeyed into Focus Week Three! Don’t miss out on the discussion below – we’d love to hear your thoughts!