I’ve been thinking about the inclination to point the finger and pass judgement on people. With judging comes criticism, harsh words and too often pride. It’s easy to fall into the trap of judging others, of making off hand comments about what others may or may not be doing, how they look, are dressed, or their belief system.
We all at some point need to check our hearts, and see what attitudes we have. It’s relatively simple to ascertain what we really think and feel, as our words and actions towards others will give it away. It’s confronting to realise we may not be as patient or loving as we thought. Too often we can be like the story of two men in the bible coming to pray to God. One man puffed up with pride and arrogance is busy thanking God he wasn’t a lowly sinner like the other man standing beside him. This other man was crying out to God fully as he acknowledged his unworthy state and asking for forgiveness. Even though the first man may have been doing all the “right” things his heart attitude grieved God as he was puffed up with spiritual pride and judgment.
“And Jesus also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. “The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ “But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ “I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”(Luke 18:9-14)
God would rather we be merciful and kind towards others than any sacrifice, offering or good works we may bring. Even if we work amazing miracles, understand all mysteries, excel in knowledge, and have faith that can move mountains, He says it amounts to nothing in His eyes if we don’t walk in love and grace towards others.
Love doesn’t judge, point the finger; it doesn’t criticize and critique others. Love is free from judgement. When we love and live in grace, we leave judgments up to God who knows the hearts and minds of all of His creation. Who are we anyway to judge? Our responsibility is to know what and in whom we believe, and to live looking to bless those around us. We can stand securely in Gods love and grace when we have discovered who we are in God. We don’t need to pull others down in judgement to be able to stand on those truths.
“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:2)
When we free our lives from passing judgments, and instead have a heart to bless others, (even if they don’t agree with us), it changes our hearts, our minds, and our actions. It lifts the weight of negativity and irritation from us, breaks pride and arrogance and sets us free to love as Jesus loves. Full of mercy, compassion, grace and willingness to bless, even the ones the world says are worth nothing.
This Easter examine your heart, and allow Jesus’ great love for you to flow into the places in your life that are stained with judgement, arrogance, cynicism and hardness of heart. Thank Him for His lack of judgment and condemnation towards you, and choose to allow a heart shift from judgement to grace and love.
Prayer: Lord Jesus I thank you for your great love for me, that caused you to die in my place, so that I can live free from judgement. Forgive me when I have not extended the same love and grace to others. Help me to really love people as you love them. In Jesus name. Amen