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November 4, 2010 / dcwisdom

Heartcry: Please Don’t Judge

Dear Friends,

I’ve written a book here, and writing is so very cathartic.

My heart is heavy tonight, and I want to share some things with you that are weighing on my mind and my spirit.  Not everyone will hear and understand, but he who has ears, let him hear.

To preface this weird post, let me say that I am the firstborn in my family.  Fairly typical:  More serious, controlling, bossy, authoritative.  My family will agree.  I can’t escape those traits; they are part of who I am.  And in spite of my “control quadrant” faults, I like who I am and have a few  redeeming qualities on the flip side.

My husband will tell you that I can talk to a telephone pole, and it will talk back.  My mother, however, will tell you that people will stop and talk to me – those I know well and people I don’t even know.  Rich people.  Old people.  People that don’t look or smell normal.  The weirdos.  Yep.  In fact, I was in Wal-Mart one day in the ice cream aisle, trying to decide what kind of ice cream to buy Sam when he came home for the weekend.  This old, diabetic guy came up and said, “You don’t need to buy that real ice cream.  You need this sugar-free, like me.  That Blue Bell will make your blood sugar get whacked.  Besides, you don’t need it; you’re on the heavy side, and it’s not good for you.”   Well, I laughed, and we talked a minute, him telling me about his disease and how he didn’t want me ending up like him.

Sweet of him… 

So, I kind of attract these people.   Most folks I really DO like.  Even folks that most people like to ignore.  I think what’s your story? where have you been? I’m listening.

Controlling.  Listening.  Antonyms.  The two don’t fit together.  But, there’s the balance.  Shut the mouth; open the ears.  Stop judging.  Get wisdom. 

I have a friend who is truly partaking in the sufferings of Christ.  I kid you not.  Horrendous suffering.  We have these way deep spiritual conversations, not the everyday, ordinary conversation topics.  Scripture that we simply take at face value is put against the sufferings, and a deeper, broader application is revealed.   It’s a light bulb moment.

So, I am privy to watch this “birth” unfold in my friend:  A greater suffering with Christ, a greater revelation of God the Father.  A greater peace; a greater wisdom.  A greater compassion.  Wasn’t that Jesus’ true ministry:  Compassion born from true, agape love?  The Compassion of the Father birthed by unconditional love and agony?

Here’s the rub:  Where’s our compassion?  Where are our ears and our tears? 

Yes, I’ve seen the suffering, and I have judged.

Years ago after we moved to this little burg, there occurred a triple homicide.   The suspect’s fingerprints and hair were found at the crime scene.  For years, there was no arrest; gossip was that the suspect had connections with the local law enforcement.  The suspect and his grandmother would attend our church periodically and sit on the back row.  The church members and I would avoid looking or talking to the family.  His “sin” was too grievous and socially unacceptable, and he wasn’t even convicted by law.  At church, judged, sentenced, and rejected.  God forgive us.

I was too young and stupid to even think that the man, by law, was innocent until proven guilty.  Everything was circumstantial; no witnesses, no confession.  Maybe he did; maybe he didn’t.  But, I’d already hanged him.

No sympathy from me or anybody else.  No compassion for this man who was lost and undone.  Only Christ and his grandmother loved him.  Only they could see his past, his need, his potential.

We all know that some things are done in the heat of the moment.  Bad things happen to good people. 

Several years ago when my boys were very young, 7-5-3ish, my sister and family had come to visit us.  Her three boys and my three were outside playing.  That’s six boys.  What’s that spell?  T-R-O-U-B-L-E.  That’s right.

Rick and I had just been gifted with a lovely new minivan.  Brand new.  In play, all the boys got in the van and locked the doors, except for one.  Jeremiah.  Poor little Jere.  He wanted in.  The boys inside taunted him, teased him, and made him so livid that Jeremiah picked up a good-sized stick and proceeded to thwack the new vehicle on all four sides trying to get inside.  Nine hundred dollars in damages.

All we adults were inside, and when one boy came a-tattlin’, my husband came unglued.  I thought he would blow a gasket.  Truly, if I had not held him back and talked him into settling down, I believe he would have gone and killed the kid.

Terrible accidents happen.  Remember Jon-Benet Ramsey in Colorado?  Did the mother Patsy or the father John pre-meditate that murder?  Was it an accident covered up?  Even without a trial and a trip to prison, I can imagine those parents suffered.

I have judged harshly.  God, forgive me.

God is doing a new thing in me.  In this circumstance with my friend, God specifically called me to stand with my friend.  I’ve known this person for 20 years and have never seen anything other than godly character.  Nothing ever malicious or nasty or mean.  And now, I can see the devastation and great sadness of the accused because of judgment passed by former friends and strangers alike. 

My friend no longer feels comfortable coming to church because of judgment from Christian brothers and sisters.  How many of us are called to the altar but refuse to go because of judgment from others?  How many desire to pray, worship, cry at the public altar but won’t because of judgment?  How many can push away public sentiment and go to the altar?  Not many.  Who wants a life-altering experience with God but won’t because the attitudes of Christian people?

God, forgive me.  I have sinned.  How many have I pushed away from You because of my arrogance and lack of grace?  God, forgive me.

For me, this is no longer a head issue; it’s a heart issue.  I thought for years that it wasn’t I who judged.  No.  But, yes.  God has put His light on my issues, and I can see them clearly.   The Scripture says in Matthew 7:  Don’t judge, so you won’t be judged.  For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged, and with what measure you hand out, it will be handed out to you. 

Not that I’ve instantly turned to mush, however.  There is the issue of fruit inspection.

People are in need of true friends – a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, an arm to give a hug, a prayer to offer.

And to those who need the altar experience with God?  Go on.  Your only audience is God Himself who loves you with His agape love, no matter your circumstance or condition.  What can man do to you when God is on your side?

God is changing my heart.  I’m still the same personality, but my character is changing for the better.  Praise God.     

 

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11 Comments

  1. Stacey at Living by Faith / Nov 6 2010 9:07 PM

    This is so powerful and convicting. He tells us to remove the log from our own eye before trying to tell someone how to remove the speck in theirs. How we ever look past our own issues to judge someone else is a mystery. But we do it all the time. It makes us, and I say us because sadly I’ve done it too, feel better about our own junk. Why do we have to make someone feel smaller to make our self feel better and bigger. When we do that we completely miss the boat… less of me and more of Him. Thanks for your authentic and soul touching words. This world would be a lot better place if more of us understood what you were saying!

  2. Mary / Nov 6 2010 7:12 PM

    What a beautiful post. Beautiful in one sense, painful for you as well. And good to share with others, because I see myself in this too. God speaks to us in so many ways.

  3. Debby Pucci / Nov 5 2010 4:44 PM

    This is a beautiful thing that God is doing inside of you. Thank you for sharing your heart. Great post.

    I wasn’t able to comment on your last post. Your grandmother is awesome!

  4. Vickie / Nov 4 2010 11:54 PM

    Hi Sweet Friend – Lotsa good stuff here. I’m guilty, too. I think as humans we’re all guilty. I’m glad God is working in your life in this way – I’m the oldest, too, and I can see myself in your post. But the Bible talks about those who can forgive when they have been forgiven much. You can say the same thing about judging others, too. It’s a process, Deb, like you know, and you’re going thru the process. We all walk our own path, and what might be your path today may be mine tomorrow. Very fortunate friend in you that your friend has. Lead the way, set the pace, and maybe others will follow your example of standing in the gap for this person. Love ya – ChVickie

  5. Mary / Nov 4 2010 4:41 PM

    A lot of things in this post. Debbie, I’ll be praying for you and your friend. Our Father has such deep and great love that we can’t even understand. How I wish Christians could share this love as easily as they share judgements. Hold on.

  6. tanna / Nov 4 2010 3:57 PM

    Debbie, your post is very moving. It is frightening as we get older and look back on the things we have judged so harshly (I’m a first born, too).

    God forgive me. Teach me Thy ways. Give me the eyes to see, the ears to hear and the heart to feel Your Guidance in my life. Bless and keep us all.

  7. Rayanne / Nov 4 2010 10:38 AM

    Hey friend…you’ve just been tagged! Come by my blog to see.
    Love ya,
    Rayanne

  8. Deb / Nov 4 2010 8:27 AM

    I enjoyed your post..we are way to judgemental…and usually don’t know the facts…that is something I’m working on myself…thanks for the reminder

  9. Debbie / Nov 4 2010 7:16 AM

    I don’t even know how to respond in the face of your pain, but I feel I must. I’ve been ministering to incarcerated felons for six years, and I believe this has reprogrammed my initial feelings about ‘people’. It’s not about guilt or blame for me anymore, it’s simply about obedience to God in taking the saving gospel message to people who are in need. It isn’t my job to judge them, they have been judged and sentenced, but I see firsthand their guilt, pain, and beleive me, prison is no fun place, no matter what we may hear.
    But I hear your accusation regarding the church. We are supposed to be Christ to others. In prison or out, God only sees two kinds of people….saved and unsaved. I’m human, and I don’t ask what they are in for, that it might not hinder my work with them. I just know that in God’s eyes we are no different. We all need a Savior and He died for each of us. Love you friend….and love that compassionate heart of yours:D
    Chicklet Deb

  10. Amber Morris / Nov 4 2010 6:40 AM

    Mom,

    I love you!

    Am

  11. Diana Ferguson / Nov 4 2010 6:36 AM

    What a great post. It’s full of challenges and “wisdom.” We are all so in need of mercy–giving and receiving.

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