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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Kindness and Judgment

Hi, my name is Jeannie and I am a judge. I don't like to think of myself as judgmental, but I must confess that I am.

(Flashback) I happen to be an external processor, which means that sometimes I discover ideas as they fly out of my mouth. (As opposed to those who actually think things first!) I was talking with someone about the importance of forgiveness when I experienced one of those times. I said something to the effect of, "I think maybe the reason God is such a stickler about us having an unlimited supply of forgiveness for others is because it is only when we are truly able to forgive others that we really believe we, too, can be forgiven." I tell you this because I believe it relates to what God is teaching me about judgment.

We are told that we will be judged as we judge. Could it be that this is not just a command God has given, but a reality that He is revealing. Within myself, at the deepest parts, I feel that I am judged by God and others by the same standards I use to judge those around me. It is the root of much of my insecurity and self awareness. Is it possible that if I can fully release my right to judge and begin accepting people and circumstances as they are, I will find myself accepted or acceptable? Maybe this is not a curse of God, but a result of how our mind works.

Maybe, God knows the inner workings of a man (or woman) so well that He knew that if we could not forgive and release those around us, a part of us would cease to believe in His freely given forgiveness for us. That it is actually our own mind that imprisons us.

I don't think I am alone in my judgment. It is a wide spread disease. I don't know that any are automatically immune. Most likely we all have to fight to build up antibodies against it.

This morning, I reread the story of Hagar and Ishmael and I saw an amazing picture of God. God's people disobeyed. They created the problem surrounding Hagar and Ishmael. If that wasn't bad enough, God's people then labeled Hagar and Ishmael as no good and shunned them to the desert to die. (Sound familiar?) And then the part that brings tears to my eyes. God, Himself, purposefully goes after Hagar and Ishmael to encourage, provide, and protect them. God's people cast judgment. God casts kindness and mercy.

It is amazing to me how God managed to honor His relationship and covenant with Abraham and Sarah (His love for them never wavered) and chase down and honor Hagar and Ishmael. What an amazing God we have!

God, I surrender my right to judge. I want to be free to love those you have placed around me. I want to receive Your judgment, not my own. I lay down my pride. My tendency to think, "Well, it is okay for them to do that, but I am above that sort of display." I confess that those are words of pride and judgment and I hand them to You, God. Take my judgment and fill my heart with Your kindness.