Monday, December 7, 2009

What's the Verdict?

Good afternoon everyone! Sorry to be so late getting this up today. We just finished doing a show out in Lee's Summit, MO this morning and had to run by the hospital afterwards to visit Alan's son, Mark. He was in a motorcycle accident a couple of weeks ago and his foot was split open. Seems he's had an infection in there since the accident, so the doctors decided he needed to be on heavy antibiotics. They did some surgery yesterday and will probably be sending him home today. Please just keep him in your prayers. Thanks!

I was just thinking about what to write on this blog for today. The thought came to me about how easy it is to judge someone by their appearance, their income, where they live or work, who they are related to, where they go to church (if they go to church), what they believe....the list goes on and on, doesn't it? Sometimes people judge others by the kind of clothes they wear and whether or not they are intelligent. There doesn't seem to be an end to this casting judgment thing! But that's not what we as God's children and heirs are supposed to be doing.

I'm reminded of the verse in the Bible that tells us to judge with 'righteous judgment'. Can I tell you how many times I've heard that used to justify a critical word about or attitude toward another person? Probably not! Too many to count. It's amazing how easy it is for us human beings to do that! And yet, I don't have a sense that God intended for the scripture to be understood in that way.

So what is 'righteous judgment'? Could it be that God wants us to learn that we do not and will not have all the information there is in any given circumstance, so the best thing for us to do is LOVE the other guy, pray for everyone in each situation and honor the Lord by doing what Jesus said to do? I recall that He told His disciples that He had not come to judge the world. Taking it to the next step, perhaps what He intends for us to do is seek Him in all matters so that we don't unrighteously judge or criticize another person. Plain and simple. Why not just ask Him if there is something we should be doing and then only do that when He tells us to do it?

And how can we know that it's Him telling us what to do and not just our own selfish ideas? Well, I think there are a couple of things we can do to help us determine whose voice we're hearing. First, being in the relationship with Him - following, praying, studying His word, listening to Him, obeying...these are all necessary if we want to have confidence that we are in His will. Second, if what we decide to do or say in response to the actions of others makes us feel smug - you know...having that 'I'm right and you're wrong' attitude - then we probably need to reevaluate our own intentions. Chances are, that smug feeling means we're really listening to our own selfish motives (judging unrighteously) instead of hearing from God (judging righteously). Our feelings of justification in how we judge someone are not valid if those feelings give us the deceptive notion that we are somehow 'better' than someone because we would never do what they are doing. Oh, they may be our feelings, but do those feelings leave us with a right heart attitude? Do our feelings allow us to see all the way into the heart of a person? Do our feelings make it possible to be mistaken about the motives of another person?

No one but Holy Spirit is Holy Spirit, after all and no one knows every single thing that drives any human to do what they do in everyday life, much less in a difficult situation. Oh, we may see everything with our eyes and hear everything with our ears. We may even have a sense of how things came together to create situations, but we only see the outside. It's like the scripture that says we only 'see in part and know in part'. According to scripture, we 'see through a glass darkly'. How then, can we possibly make judgments about the motives of another person or the real heart issues and life experiences that drive anyone to do the things he/she does?

We may see anger on the outside, but perhaps Holy Spirit sees deep hurt on the inside. We may see manipulation and control on the outside, but perhaps Holy Spirit sees someone who is so full of pain and so broken on the inside that the very thought of more pain drives them to say and do things that are hurtful to others. Who knows?

And that's my point exactly! Who does know? Only our loving God who created each one of us - fashioned us before we were even born - knew the things that would drive us and all the in-between stuff that would try to keep us from succeeding, whether it be the devil or our pasts or whatever. Only God knows the deepest thoughts and desires of our hearts. Only He knows what it will take for us to be able to allow the changes that will spur us onward in our journey through life and into the kingdom with Him. Only He knows how to reach each heart in ways that will unlock the floodgates and let the healing waters of His Spirit flow in to wash away all of the damage done by the enemy. He alone knows what it takes to change a heart for all eternity.

So, dear friends and dear readers, the only safe place I've found in all of this 'judge righteous' stuff is to purpose in my own heart to love more. More. More than that. More. Every day and in every circumstance. I wish I could tell you that I'm successful every single time I'm faced with a situation to judge righteously, but that would be a lie. I fail so miserably sometimes. But there is a beautiful Example of what my goal is in this and every other area of life. His name is Jesus Christ. Yeshua Ha Maschiach. He is beautiful and loving. He is strong, brave, powerful and generous. And I am His.

So, it is worth the ongoing battle against my flesh and my own selfish desires. After all, He didn't judge me when I was an alcoholic and a drug addict. He didn't judge me when I was a prostitute, or when I walked away from my children. He didn't judge me when I went through multiple abortions and multiple divorces. No, He judged me with righteous judgment. He remained in right standing with God and chose to love me and draw me to Himself, regardless of what I'd been and all I'd done. Now THAT is who I want to be like. That is who I want to follow. That is how I want to love. That is how I want to judge. He saw all the things that drove me to the life I lived - but He didn't take a smug attitude toward me and say anything foolish or hateful to me. He never said, 'you made your bed, now you can sleep in it.' No, He said, 'I love you, I forgive you. I died for you. And I will walk with you every day of your life if you will come and follow me.' How could I resist?

If you're struggling with a critical spirit and a judgmental attitude, please give it up. It's not worth it to hang onto it. We truly will be judged as we have judged others - and forgiven as we have forgiven others. There is so much freedom and peace in simply loving others and following (obediently) the Lord Jesus Christ. If you need prayer, let me know. And you pray for me, too, okay? I want to walk in right standing in my heart attitude every single time in every single situation. I'll be glad to pray for you, too.

For now, take care, let go and truly LET GOD. :)

Love you all! Until tomorrow....


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