My sister-in-law and I were laughing so hard the other day talking about how celebrities, when asked if they ever have any regrets in their life, always seem to say "no". My jaw always drops when I hear this because i'm like I HAVE 543 MILLION REGRETS. How in the world do people honestly say they have no regrets?
Anyway, the point is, one of my biggest regrets in life is the measure to which I have judged people. I'm not really talking about the occasional judgement of "her dress doesn't fit right" or "her hair looks weird".
I'm talking about how we can so easily judge the motives of others, or their decisions, or the way they approach situations. We can just be so critical. And have you noticed how this judgement seems to grow in size when we are actually really green with envy over what someone else has? "That person have a bigger/nicer/prettier ____ than me" and so we somehow find fault with them in order to elevate ourself. Bleh…it's yucky stuff.
A few years ago I found that this judgement stuff was especially true with a specific person in my life. Of course I never voiced it, but in my heart I harbored a very clear sense of black and white in terms of how I analyzed this person's behavior. If she did something that I thought was "wrong" then I judged it as all "bad". I literally made a judgement call over her decisions, instead of just accepting her choices as her choices, and trusting God to be in control of the situation.
It's that small freaking problem called SIN!!!! When we start believing that we are God and have the right to judge others, we have plummeted. We are NOT God, and we do NOT have the right to judge. Ever. While in Nepal, the good Lord showed me a thing or two about what His word has to say about judgement. Friends, it was depressing in the sense that I caught a deeper glimpse of my nasty sin and depravity, but also SO SO empowering and freeing learning it doesn't have to be that way! I realized my thought-life could be redeemed!
Jesus makes it very clear that the measure we use to judge other WILL BE USED TO JUDGE US. Matthew 7:1-2 says "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you"
For a few years there, I was critical and unkind in my judgement, and let me tell you, I reaped the consequences. I felt depressed, bound up, anxious, and judged by others. I'm convinced this was a direct consequence of my own judgement.
But when I learned to forgive, and pour out grace in greater and more bountiful strokes, a beautiful thing happened in my life. My anxiety and depression lifted, I felt a deeper acceptance from others, and my heart began to roam free.
Christ set us free not to judge others, but instead to be graceful and loving. Give others the benefit of the doubt. Know that everyone is facing their own battles so be kind. When a situation arises or an event happens, allow it to pass without ascribing a label of "good" or "bad" to it. Accept that "it is" and that you don't have to judge it as anything other than what it is.
Don't be swept away and enticed by the thrill that it sometimes is to criticize or judge others. Have you ever heard that joke "they're friends because they both hate the same person". Satan's lie is that gossip and judgement is glamorous, but it is not. It's evil, it's unkind, it's hurtful (not only to the other person, but to your spirit), and it grieves the Lord. It is NOT healthy for you in any way, shape or form.
Bottom line…entrust God with the judgement. Hopefully that will free you up to be clothed with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience (Col. 3:12). Because I don't think judgement and kindness can happen simultaneously. So choose wisely.
Happy Friday friends, and may your heart be free and graceful as you enjoy your weekend!