Don’t Judge? Why Not?

 

So, you see someone – your friend, co-worker, family member- doing something you think is really stupid. It irks you, concerns you, or just plain drives you crazy.

When do you say something?

CAN you say something?

Will it do any good anyhow?

If God says, “Don’t judge others, because in the way you give it out, it will be given back to you”, does this say we should never comment when we see our acquaintances doing things that cause problems?

The Bible goes on to say in Matthew 7, that we need to check our own face first. Often, what  accuse others of doing, is what we ourselves are guilty of doing.

Are you seeing incorrectly, however, even  if you may be doing the same thing yourself?  Not likely. You probably see very accurately.  So, here are the questions to ask yourself:

What is my motivation for judging? What do I hope to achieve by my criticism?

If your answer is, “Because I’m ticked off, and they really bug me with their behavior!”  don’t look for change anytime soon.

If your answer is, “Because, for the health of this relationship, and to see them succeed in life, I’d like to see them conquer this non-constructive habit. Perhaps there is something I can offer in order to help them progress.”  Now, there are grounds for change.

So, what is a strategy you can use?

God wants genuine prayers, from those with a heartfelt desire for constructive change.

 

Well, first of all, the Bible gives a few clues in Matthew 7.

First – and sometimes saddest – is to  Find out if the person is even interested to modify their destructive habits. If there is zero awareness of their need, or no desire to conduct themselves in a better way, then vs 6 implies, “Don’t even bother investing good material in a bad destination. It’s a waste of worthwhile time and effort, and even a risk to your safety”.   There is a time to persist,  a time to walk away, AND a time to leave the subject alone and work your strategy for awhile.  However, most of us give up FAR too quickly and easily. (More on this subject in another blog.)

Second – Ask God for help in this situation. He wants their success even more than you do. Sincere prayers offered for another person’s prosperity, are regarded by God.

Learn what you can do, that will bring life –not destruction to every person involved in the situation. Ask God for His wisdom to teach you and bring answers. He is for you, not against you.

Persist – don’t give up easily. Keep asking, educate yourself, keep looking for your clues, keep your eyes open, pursuing what is right and good. God wants genuine prayers, from those with a heartfelt desire for change.

Ask, seek, persist. This is the second strategy.

Thirdly, realize that if you know how to give good things to those in need – especially your own family – then God knows even more so how to provide for our necessities.

Realize and believe He wants to give you the answers you need, because He is a good God.

The Golden Rule

Lastly, what you want others to do for you, you do for them. For example, if you want respect from someone who treats you with contempt, then offer respect to them. If someone is selfish, or greedy, offer generosity. Treating your enemy in the opposite way they treat you, goes a long way towards breaking off an unacceptable or painful circumstance. This is VERY counter-intuitive, as we humans are more inclined to react and fight back with vindictive vengeance!

Responding in the opposite attitude is a very acquired skill.  It requires much practise and diligence. However, if our attitude is set to see productive – not destructive – progress, this skill can be the game-changer.

So, in summary:

  • Observe – does this person really want to change?
  • Ask God, Keep looking for answers, Persist – don’t give up – unless there is clearly no other answer.

 

  • Realize God is on the side of those who work to do right, and stick to the process.

 

  • Do for others what you want them to do for you.

 

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Remember, feelings will never remain consistent – Choice does.  True love for others is not an emotion. It is a decisive action first, and then the affection will follow. If we understand this dynamic alone, most of our relationships will change for the better.

So, I’ve Asked God… Why Isn’t He Giving Me What I’ve Asked For?

 

Ah, the age-old question: I keep praying.  Why isn’t God listening?!

You know that Bible piece, “Ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks, it will be opened…”  Soooo, why aren’t I getting my answers?

Well, let’s explore that one today.

In context of the “ask, seek, knock” verse, look at the situation described in Matthew 7.  Do you see that the before-and after scenes described here show relationships? The chapter starts  by describing a judgemental person. It says, “Don’t judge, so that you yourself will not be judged.” ( Funny how so many of our requests revolve around relational issues, isn’t it?)

Okay, well, let’s face it. We ALL judge. We all see things in  other people that we don’t like. So, take a minute to look underneath the criticism.  Why are you doing it?  Seriously.  Ask yourself,  Am I simply frustrated because I don’t like what they’re doing?  Is it a threat to my security or pride, or are they truly doing something wrong?

Ponder as well,  What do I want from this person?

What – in your mind- would fix the problem?

Now, the difficult question: Am I doing the same thing to them, perhaps in another way?

In our frustration, it can be a challenge to think in this sequence, but it will help define your answers.

Next, are we offering them solutions  that are right and holy and mutually beneficial? Or are the ‘suggestions’  self-centred, based on our own desires? Are you truly hearing  why –  he/she is doing what they do?  In other words, have you carefully considered their viewpoint?

Even though they may be in the wrong, do they feel heard – and understood – by you?

Another key point is this: Are they asking you for your opinion?  If not,  you can ask if they’re interested in your idea  to fix this problem, but, if they answer in the negative,  don’t throw away your time!

This is all prep work,  but it is also good maintenance work.  Every relationship will take this kind of  effort to keep it healthy and sound. You may think it’s time consuming,  but the long-term dividends pay very well!   If your repeated attempts to communicate in a healthy, holy way are refused, then stop  wasting your time!   Don’t throw away your gift, your value, or your time where they are discarded, but don’t lose your own grip on doing what is right  in the process!

So, back to the ‘ask-seek-knock’ question… You see, God sets up an evaluation system so we can judge ourselves too. If we have determined that 1) we are not judging, and that 2)  we’ve cleaned up our own tendency to do the same thing, and that 3) we’re not wasting time trying to change someone who isn’t open to improvement,  then look at this, What are you asking for,  and why?

The book of James gives some great insight into this by saying, “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Don’t they come from your desire for pleasure, that wars in you? You desire and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war.  Yet you do not have because you do not ask.”

Then it goes on with the kicker:  “You ask and don’t receive because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.”

God yearns for us to desire friendship with Him first, rather than friendship with things that will never bring us life. True, they may bring amusement and momentary pleasure. Sin is always attractive enough to be very alluring, but always the enemy of the best.

Have you taken your request, be it physical, material, personal, etc. to God?  Matthew goes on to say that He’s a good Father, who wants to give good things to those who ask Him.

Let’s run those unanswered requests through the above filters, and ask if they fit His standards.

Am I asking for what is good and right? Are my reasons self–pleasing, or do they have a holy motivation? Am I willing to hear God,  if perhaps His solution  is  based on my ultimate  good,  but not my immediate pleasure?

What are your thoughts?