You have a loved one stuck in a rut – you know this, because you and others have tried in various ways to help. Does this sound familiar? Well, I’ve a question for you: when did you stop loving and start judging?
The moment you decide a person’s path based on his/her inability to adopt to yours, you become the judge. It doesn’t matter if you’re wrong or right- what matters is your attitude toward this person when your attempts to “straighten” him/her out fails.
We’re human, and likely to fall into this trap more often than not. It could be as simple as assigning the title “idiot” to the driver who won’t let you cut in, considering your boss a loser for passing you over on that promotion, or dooming your daughter’s wedding because she isn’t interested in the dress you chose for her.
These habits can be quite pervasive – from determining what one should think, do and say, to where and how s/he should live. Is that you? Do you know someone like that? Why is this being brought to your attention today?
First, it’s a warning against self-exaltation. To judge is to have power over life and death, and when you determine someone’s cause or worth based on your opinion of his/her response to your desires…you lose. You are first and always asked to examine your heart in light of another’s perceived sins. You may be surprised at what glares back at you.
Second, you don’t have the other’s full story – you may think you do – but you’re not God, so you don’t. There’s only what you think you know, so next time you feel the urge to roll your eyes at your friend’s hundredth promise to quit smoking cigarettes, hold your judgment. You could be talking to a rape victim dealing with his/her emotional pain behind closed doors. The point is, you don’t know everything, so don’t act like you do.
Thirdly, and perhaps more importantly – you don’t know what God is doing. This is a basic fact. His ways are higher than yours and your understanding is limited. God uses people and circumstances for various reasons, and it could be this individual is placed in your life to reveal your latent sin, give you an opportunity to choose and practice love, and provide the help you so desire to give, His way – which doesn’t include punishment, coercion and fear.
If you choose to love, you have no time to judge, to look at and upon the other’s works and ways. In love, your busy being a friend, a lover, an encourager, a believer and a model of faithfulness. God’s alternative to our frustrations is to pray for the person, turn the thoughts and desires into a petition on behalf of the loved one.
A demonstration of love is to remove oneself from the judgment seat and sit down by the offender’s feet.