Those Judgments You Are Passing: How Releasing Others from Your Scrutiny Frees You.
May I tell you a story?
Several years ago, I was sitting in a dental office waiting for my turn to get in the dentist’s chair. I was deep in my own thoughts and had no real awareness of my surroundings. The 30 minute drive into town had been spent crying again,– something I found myself doing most of the times when I was actually alone and without kids. My parents’ seemingly sudden divorce was still very raw,– and in the process.
As I waited, my thoughts were suddenly interrupted by an abrupt voice. I looked up into the extremely annoyed and angry looking face of a man who was addressing me. “Do you HAVE to tap?” he said shortly. It was then that I realized I had been quietly drumming my fingers on the arm of my chair. “No!” I replied. He followed it up with, “I mean—– uuhhhggg!!” sighing annoyingly.
The tears that had been flowing threatened urgently to start again… “I will not cry over this dumb thing that someone said in a dentist’s office,” I repeated to myself over and over while giving my all to maintain my composure. Soon it was my turn to leave the waiting room, and I never saw that man again.
God starting talking to me about this situation and working on my heart to view it from a different perspective. There are two things I want to note specifically that He spoke to me.
#1 I was raw and hurting before I walked into the waiting room. If I had not been, his behavior would not have hurt me nearly as much. But more importantly…
#2 As I thought to myself, “How can anyone be so rude to a stranger?”… it dawned on me that I didn’t know what was going on in his inner world. For all I knew, his wife had told him that morning that she was leaving him. His best friend could have died the day before. Or any number of difficult things may have been making him raw. It’s possible that he was just being a jerk, but it’s also possible that he wasn’t.
This is one of the first times I remember becoming aware of what might be going on in other people’s inner worlds that made them act the way they act.
As humans, we tend to walk around passing judgment on people because their behavior doesn’t line up with what we think is appropriate.
But do you know the story behind the persons actions? Are you able to search their heart and know their inner world?
Thoughts enter our heads like… “Why does she let herself be so overweight?”
When what you don’t know is that she’s already lost 100 pounds. You just met her half way through her journey. What she has accomplished has already trumped what the majority of people will ever achieve. I met my friend Charlotte half way through her massive weight loss journey. When I met her, she wasn’t small, but she was A LOT smaller and healthier than she had been.
Have you ever had thoughts like these?
“Her kids are so obnoxious… we will not be their friends.”
What you don’t know is that the kids act that way because they’ve had to move from everything they knew a few months ago, then they lost a close family member to death. If you think people should act perfectly through pain, then you’ve never experienced pain.
“She just tries to get attention with her perfect make up and tight clothes.”
But the reality is, she just feels confident in who God made her to be and you don’t. How do you expect to get past yourself enough to minister to others if you never embrace who God made you to be?
Judgments against others are often the way we avoid taking care of this very problem in ourselves. Even if what we judge is correct, might there be a way that we can love and encourage that person instead of staying aloof? Don’t you know that you WILL FOR SURE recieve the judgements you pass on others back to yourself? That is a LAW that God knit into this world.
The moment you feel a judgment rise up within you, take it as indication that you should look at the ways YOU can change that behavior in yourself and stop passing it on others. Soon, you will find you heart is free and full of love — which makes you a useful person that others will seek to be around.
Next, bless them. Instead of thinking or speaking a judgement, speak a blessing. Posture yourself to say “I bless you” to everyone you meet. The law of sowing and reaping is very much alive and in effect.