Judging Others, Judging Yourself
There is nothing in our lives that hurts us more emotionally than when someone stabs you in the back. The intensity of the pain is increased when the accuser is a family member or close friend. Last week we discussed handling the betrayal of a friend. The focus was on your immediate reaction from an emotional perspective. This week we are going to open this a little more because it is an issue that is very complex. Knowing this, God gave us an abundance of instruction to handling these issues of life.
Don’t repay evil for evil or seek vengeance, but return good for evil. ~ Romans 12:17,19-21
Working through betrayal and false accusations is difficult, even with the best training. It involves our emotions in the raw. When a friend does or says something against you, you immediately take offense and often times your initial response is one that involves some type of retaliation. Not you, eh? Have you ever thought unkind thoughts about a friend who has hurt you? Any sarcastic thoughts go through your mind? Don’t be ashamed, it happens to me too. Then there is the fact that judging others can be difficult if we don’t take the time to follow God’s clear instructions.
When you recognize that your mind has gone to a not so nice place, go to God. Ask him not only to forgive you, but to help remove those thoughts from your mind and control your tongue when speaking with others. Self evaluation is a key.There was a time when I thought I was “innocent” of sin because I would only verbalize my unkind thoughts to my husband. I wasn’t saying them to others and I wasn’t gossiping. Then God cued me in to the fact that thoughts alone were the same violation. I was still returning evil with evil. Satan is tricky that way. As you begin to allow God to work you through your reaction, including your mind, you will be on the road to returning good for evil.
Now, you have to evaluate yourself. Remember, last week we discussed the verses Matthew 7:1-5. You absolutely must judge yourself before you can judge others correctly. The point of evaluating, both yourself and others, is to glorify God. You certainly won’t be bringing glory to your Heavenly Father with corrupt thinking. When you dig a little deeper you will find that it is a typical human response is to play the blame game when you are hurt by another. It has happened from the beginning of human time.
Look at Genesis 3:12-13. Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent. Neither of them was able to judge themselves, and so they incorrectly judged others and the situation as a whole. I imagine they both reacted internally with some bad thoughts and may likely have spoken with more than a hint of sarcasm. Both were wrong. Both sinned against God. Yet, neither was able to admit wrong doing.
When you allow yourself to be completely open and honest before God, transformation happens. He is joyful when we change according to His will for our lives. Yet God uses etiquette and manners; He waits upon your invitation. This is the most crucial part to being able to evaluate and judge yourself, and thus rightly judge others, as well as situations. Phillips Brooks wrote,
Keep clear of concealment – keep clear of the need of concealment. It is an awful hour when the first necessity of hiding something comes. The whole life is different thenceforth. When there are questions to be feared and eyes to be avoided and subjects which must not be touched, the bloom of life is gone.
Keep your bloom of life in all situations by honestly evaluating yourself in all that you do and watch your journey become more simple and clear as you dance in your salvation.
Verses for Meditation: