Am I Judging You?
This morning, I sat on my parents couch to ask for advice. My first question probably seemed quite juvenile. “Dad? How can you tell if a person is ungodly?”.
My father isn’t like most bible-toting deacons or ministers. He isn’t very legalistic or difficult for the everyday mind to understand. He’s easy like Sunday morning.
He responded, “Well, you can just feel it. The Holy Spirit will tell you. Use your heart.” No long scriptures, no philosophy, no “let me pray for you”, just a simple, “you just know, Chrissy”. He said, “You use your discernment.”
“Oh,” I said.
I began to think about all the new age ideas of “acceptance culture” and how everyone is “Magic” and “epic” and “a bad ass”. (Thank you Jen Sincero… your audiobooks are my morning motivational speeches!)
“Well what’s the difference between discernment and being judgmental?”.
This is when my mom chimed in, as she always does. She put down her pencil and cup of tea and stood up. “Judgment,”, she waved her pointer finger, “is when you decide on the fate of someone based on their actions. You aren’t simply saying ‘this is good and this is bad’, you’re saying, ‘this is what you deserve because of your choices’”.
I said, “Yeah, mom that’s kind of what I was thinking. It’s the discernment part that I struggle with.”
It’s true. Calling anybody, anything in particular makes me shudder. I’m kind of growing out of an “idealist”, phase where everyone is “good” and “I love everyone”. That’s all well and good when you’re 6, but once you grow up, you have to make the hard choices that sometimes have the ability to divide. One might call this idealism “non-confrontational behavior”. I might agree.
This Sunday Toure Roberts spoke a message that referenced a passage from Psalms chapter 1. It says, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly.”
The reason I had such a hard time with this message was because in an “everything goes” world, often times I feel challenged about having my value system held up against society’s.
Well, after Mom, Dad and I finished what ended up being an hour long discussion, here’s what I have to offer for your consideration:
Judgment is much like what judges do. They decide on the fate of a person based on a decision, choice or action a person committed or made. A person can be sentenced to death, years in prison or perhaps community service based on a judge’s “judgement”. It’s a final say of what someone must be subject to because of something they have done.
Often times we make a choice as to how we will treat a person or what a person deserves based on a choice they’ve made. According to scripture, if it wasn’t for “mercy”, we’ve all done enough “wrong” to be subject to “eternal damnation”. Because of the grace and mercy of a loving God, however, we’re given forgiveness and access to life everlasting even after we fall. Does another human being have the right to decide on another persons fate? When? Why? I’d love to hear your thoughts below.
People forget about mercy sometimes and so they alienate, isolate and punish others with what becomes “judgement”, for what they deem “bad”.
Can you think of some judgements you’ve placed on someone’s life based on their actions instead of finding mercy and forgiveness?
Discernment however doesn’t mean that you don’t pick up on the “bad” or the thing that doesn’t line up with your “inner man”. Sure you can see the “bad” in someone. That’s discernment according to the older population of “church folks” that I know. This particular scripture in Psalms doesn’t ask you to “judge” an ungodly person, instead it simply cautions you against walking out your destiny according to their guidance. Can you see now, why I asked my Dad, “How do you know if someone is godly?”? This scripture can really change the shape of one’s social life.
Often times, we are so afraid of appearing judgmental, that we smile thru bad advice from people in fear of hurting their feelings or simply having to say, “no”. Trust me, I’ve been there, both with public and private repercussions.
Can you think of a time that you shaped your life or made your decisions based off of the advice of someone who you discerned was not a good person to take advice from?
GRACE & boundaries
Well, there is grace for this sometimes uncomfortable predicament. Self compassion and self love asks us to be mindful about who we allow in our personal space. No body is perfect and we will always live in a world that ask us to love, work with and serve many different kinds of people. However, the space were we create our plans. The space where we create our goals and aspirations. That space is sacred and private. It requires you to be alone with the Holy Spirit and even the people who you know line up with your core values and are on one accord with your system of beliefs. You know who they are… it’s in your spirit. Just listen.
You don’t have to spend time apologizing for what you believe. You don’t have to worry about feeling sorry for your values. You don’t have to shame anyone who doesn’t believe like you or value what you do. Instead you can create boundaries. Create safe spaces that can carry and nurture your ideas. Create safe spaces that don’t have to be infiltrated with the ideas and opinions of those who may simply not understand your calling. You don’t have to feel obligated to share your dreams or ideas with everyone who will listen. It’s ok to keep some of your heart to yourself. Let your dreams grow and mature and when the time is right, the world can see.
I think we often fear discerning the realities of who some people are because we aren’t confident in who they will then see in us. That light inside of you was fearfully and wonderfully made and God wants time alone with you to show you just how to share it.
Take sometime to get honest about what you see. Resist the urge to be judgmental and instead create the boundaries that you need to create the “you” deep down inside that wants to grow and flourish.
This scripture passage goes on to say that this person who is honest about who they take advice and counsel from will be like a tree planted beside rivers of water and in due season they will bring forth fruit continually. That’s you. Drinking Fiji and dropping mangoes! There are people all over just waiting for you to planted where you’re supposed to be so you can drop fruit and start feeding their souls! Together, let’s start lining up the counsel we take with the truth in our hearts. It won’t be easy but our destiny is worth it.
A prayer for confidence and healing
Dear God, I pray for my sisters and brothers who have a heart after you and what you’ve called them to be. Give them the strength to walk in the way that strengthens their confidence in their calling. Lead them to the people who sharpen their iron. Give them the confidence to say, “no thank you” and still be the loving leaders, salt and light that you’ve called them to be.
Heal those who may feel judged. Heal those who may have suffered in-just abuse or isolation. Give them the strength to forgive and the peace to let go of resentment.
Bring clarity to those who might be struggling to hear their sense of discernment. Draw them nearer to you, that they might find the clarity they seek.
And lead us to love daily, in all we do.
In Jesus’ name,
Alright guys... talk soon. Leave a comment below if this helped just a little. I hope it brought you comfort.
All My Love,