I spent a good portion of my life being more critical and judgmental of others in some capacity and I even achieved becoming my own worst critic. I’m embarrassed and remorseful and praise God for pruning away my critical spirit and replacing those voids with compassion, understanding and a new level of love for people. Since I spent a good chunk of my life bound by this type of stinkin’ thinkin’, I consider myself qualified to speak on the matter with a goal to educate and hopefully awaken others who have fallen into the trap of a self righteous attitude. A critical spirit is a dangerous and damaging way to live and unfortunately it becomes such a habit forming thought process that we are unable to recognize it without some type of disruption to ignite change through self-awareness.
The truth in the Word tells us…
“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. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:1-5)
For me, true awareness began when I was faced with a situation that was frighteningly similar to a person I had judged harshly for the same situation. I was faced with my own self-righteousness when I felt my own feet tightly laced in their shoes facing the same emotions, justifications and battles with this similar situation. As I stood in the mirror, what a shock to see the giant plank in my eye staring back at me creating such shame guilt and doubt within my being. I had never experienced so much remorse in my life until I experienced this unexpected disruption and I thank God for allowing me to walk through the situation and experience such a critical life lesson that we all need to learn during this short time on earth. I asked for forgiveness from God and the person I had judged so unfairly. God used this situation to show me true compassion for all people in all situations regardless of what they had done or life decision they had made. Now I don’t have to make a bad choice to learn this lesson. I now have the knowledge and understanding of true compassion for all people and all situations.
Jesus goes on to say…
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35 NIV)
I love the fact that Jesus used the word COMMAND because this is non-negotiable and above all else, this is the way we should live and conduct ourselves, period. It ends the debate on who is right or wrong and replaces the ugliness with a beautiful act of simply choosing to obey God’s command sharing kindness, compassion or simply staying quiet. Gods love transcends all human thinking.
Sometimes we confuse showing our love and compassion with agreement or support and therein lies the greatest gift in this life lesson. We love others, especially those who have wronged us or do things that we might believe are wrong.
We can live out our faith at the highest level by obeying His great command because it is at the pinnacle for all other teachings of Jesus. So many other acts fall into place that align with Jesus when we live out this command on a daily basis.
It’s not an easy request at times when we encounter people in situations that bring out our human tendencies to judge the the person vs. love them. I’m confident that God calls His people who have also walked in the shoes of the afflicted to love and support them from a place of empathy that only they can relate. However, if we adopt the compassionate spirit and replace judgment, we don’t have to go through all of those experiences. We say, “I have not walked in their shoes and I don’t understand it but that is not my concern. My concern is showing love and kindness.” After all, isn’t that what Jesus did for each one of us while we carried planks in our eyes.
“People are not qualified to judge, instead they are commanded to love” ~ Teresa Devine