Do you struggle with being judgmental? Do you find it’s easy to be critical of others, especially if they don’t think, act or speak in ways in which you agree? If that’s the case, here are a couple of things which may help: empathy and love.
It’s very simple, try to understand the other person’s point of view, but go deeper than you would normally. Try to get at least some level of understanding of what’s behind their actions, words and thinking. It’s easy to forget everyone has a distinctive background and is wired differently. Their life experiences influence how they process things and make decisions. In short, they didn’t get where they are today, overnight. One way to think of it is people are doing the best they can with what they have -even if it doesn’t appear so to you. Their perspectives are different than yours. Here’s a simple example: Right, wrong or indifferent, what sort of things did you learn from your parents? Do you suppose what you grew up believing is the same as everyone else? Does everyone of your friends keep identical family traditions that you observe? Have you noticed not everyone has the same work ethic? Some have learned different standards than what you possess. Parental influence alone causes people to think and act differently than you. Not to mention those who have been knocked down by life. Some are crippled by fear, while others are flat angry, and so on. On the other hand, they might be wondering what’s wrong with you.
As disciples of Jesus Christ, we cannot expect non-disciples to “act like Christians.” It’s not who they are, especially since they’re led by a different spirit. Ephesian 2:1-3And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
Did you notice that statement: “The spirit that now works in the children of disobedience”? Notice also it says, “Wherein in time past ye walked.” Prior to Jesus, we were in the same boat. While we don’t live in the past, it does make it easier to be empathetic when we remember from where we came. Remember, it was God’s favor alone that brought us out of darkness. It wasn’t our charming behavior!
Everyone has thought, said or done things they regret. If we think about it, and with Holy Spirit’s help, we all can trace the cause of those things if we’re honest. Why do some want others to be understanding when they blow it; and yet, have a hard time being the same when others blow it? Of course, some want a severe beating when they blow it, but that’s another issue. Most people don’t strategize how they’re going fall flat on their face, but fall they do. Most don’t decide to make bad decisions, but bad decisions they still make. To be clear, people have made amazingly good decisions; but some of them were by accident. There are threads that weave through everyone’s life. Those chains of events and influences play a part in how people arrived to their current circumstances.
We know love is not easily offended and covers a multitude of sins. It is interested in the welfare of others, and looks for ways to lift them up out of the mire. By nature, love employs empathy, and goes to the heart of the matter. It seeks to understand more than it does to be understood. Love doesn’t call people on the carpet; it seeks to get them off the carpet. At the same time, it doesn’t jump into the pit with someone, except to tie a line around their waste in order to help get them out. It definitely does not stay there. Love looks outward; it’s not inward focus, except for when self-awareness is required. Looking through the eyes of Jesus is paramount. Think of the way He treats you. Do you treat others the same way? He didn’t hold your sins against you. Why would any of us want to hold anything against another? 2 Corinthians 5:18-21And all things are of God, Who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.
Some of you are doing yourself a disservice: you’re comparing yourself with others. For the most part, all that does is cause inner conflict and questioning. Am I enough? Do I have enough? Am I doing the right thing? And on it goes. How many love living a life of second guessing yourself? There is something important to realize: other people are not the measure of your life! If you make someone else some sort of standard, you can inadvertently look to them to validate your life. It’s like asking them for permission to live it. On the other hand, you could get a false sense of security or worse still, gravitate to self-aggrandizement. It would be easy to pass that off as mere pride. While pride might be involved, it’s also attached to insecurity. It’s another form of self-affirmation. 2 Corinthians 10:12For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. Why would you feel compelled to compare yourself to someone else? Where does that come from? His or her design is no more important than yours. Do you base importance on performance, instead of who you are as an individual, or more importantly, as a child of God? You do realize God never based His love for you on your performance? Moreover, He designed you a certain way, and has given you everything you need to conform to that design. His love is such that He gives you the leeway to decide whether or not to conform to it. Even though, you were made to be a certain way, to do specific things for specific reasons, you don’t have to do any of it. That’s your decision. To be honest, you’ll be the most fulfilled being you, than trying to be someone or something else. The comparison trap can hinder you from fulfilling your God-given destiny. The Standard for living is Jesus Christ. How many people are on that level? None! The awesome thing about Jesus, is He gave Himself for you to be on a much higher level. Through Him, our heavenly Father seated you in a new place. It could say it’s out of this world. Ephesians 2:4-7But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great lovewherewith He loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
If you desire true freedom, then you must embrace truth. Not just any truth, God’s Truth! Those who believe only what they want to believe are on the path to self-deception. It does not lead to freedom. Many who are on it, feel as if they are free by choosing that route. They have a sense of being “in charge,” because it was their choice. Unbeknownst to them that pathway is filled with twists and turns, blind-spots and deep pits in which to fall. It leads to a vast desert in which hunger and thirst await its victim. The open expanse may look like a place of freedom, but it’s a mirage. Ultimately, it leads to destruction. Remember what Jesus said: “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew7:13-14). It is important to examine what we believe and what seems right to us.
Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
There is no freedom without truth. As long as someone rejects it, he will always be in bondage. Some believers only experience partial freedom because they pick and choose what they want to believe. They are experiencing partial light, so their vision is dim, and thus, they cannot clearly see where they’re going. With partial belief comes partial peace. Because they are hanging on to false reasoning, they’re not enjoying the peace that surpasses understanding, which Jesus presents to them. Have you ever had that nagging deep-down feeling something was amiss, and since you glossed over it, peace eluded you? Wasn’t it until you stop ignoring it, and addressed the issue that peace came? The abundant life Jesus intended for individuals will not be fully realized until they fully open their heart to the Truth.
John 8:31-32 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, If ye continue in My Word, then are ye My disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
There are many so-called truths, but none of them truly set people free. Truth is found in God’s Word, and His doctrine. There are myriads of teachings of men and demons, but there is only one Doctrine of Christ. Not to mention traditions of people that make the Word of God void in their lives (see Matthew 15:1-9; Mark 7:5-13). We are warned of such things in Colossians: Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ(Colossians 2:8). A lot of things sound good, especially if they incorporate elements of the Bible, but they never quite make the mark. As long one leans on man’s wisdom or even his own understanding, he will never really be settled in his heart. How many have found after hearing the wisdom of God, man’s seems rather foolish? And that’s because it is (see 1 Corinthians 1:18-25)!
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.
Freedom begins with Truth, it begins with Jesus!
Why God? How many times have you asked that question? How many times did He answer you? There are probably numerous times all you heard was crickets, as if God could care less. Depending on the circumstances in which the question was asked, the emotions behind them could be overwhelming, perhaps, even maddening. Since He is a very good Father, He be could extending mercy by not giving an answer. It may feel like inaction on His part, but it isn’t.
In some cases, not all, you might have been crushed or devastated by the answer. Your heart might been not only broken, but absolutely shattered. In other instances, it may be you would wrestle with forgiveness or bitterness. Moreover, it could be you weren’t at a place to actually handle the truth. In other incidences, it would be possible you didn’t hear the answer, because you honestly didn’t want to know the truth. In other words, the willingness to listen wasn’t there.
Knowing the answers doesn’t necessarily change things. For the control freaks, it really doesn’t give any more control over situations than if you never knew the whys and wherefores. Knowing why does not always make things better.
Of course, it can be a very good thing when why is attached to seeking wisdom and understanding, so you can navigate through life more smoothly. After all, we’re encouraged to ask for wisdom, as well as the understanding (see James 1:5-8; Proverbs 4:5-7).
An important takeaway is we don’t have to know all the reasons for things, but we can take comfort in knowing the One Who does, and trust Him with all the answers, whether or not we ever come to know them. God is faithful, and He loves you so much. And because He does, He may have some moments of silence. He will always do what is best for you, whether it feels like it or not.
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.