Every time we have guests over, I get a glimpse of what life must be like outside of our little hovel. The business that we are in, we don’t need to travel a lot and entertain executives or potential customers. Our business is basic and our communication is very simple, so there’s no “impressing” anyone outside of the knowledge that we wish to share. Our guests, however, are usually family members who have totally different careers and lifestyles. In the end, we don’t understand them and they certainly don’t understand us.
This past encounter yet again showed me how judgmental we all are on a regular basis. So much so that we don’t even realize it until after we’ve put our foot in our mouth. Someone who sees your lifestyle for a very short period of time and has intimate conversations with you because you are a trusted family member will inevitably make a judgment about you that you won’t believe. It’s just how things seem to work. Then you’re left making conclusions on your own about why they feel that way and what did you do to make them so disappointed?
Okay, so this wasn’t me this time, but it was my husband. Trust me, no one understands him, especially his family. There are days when I don’t understand him, but I know he will usually explain himself to me on a particularly bad day. But, he won’t explain himself to other people and they typically don’t want to hear it. Therefore, he walks away feeling like they are disappointed in him and how he lives his life.
It’s ironic how we are taught to live according to our instincts and not to conform with everyone else. That being unique is important and we should never let our individuality be shoved to the side. And yet, we are influenced by the comparisons we make in our own minds to celebrities, neighbors, and even family members. We usually don’t even know every detail (or even many) about that person’s life to make any kind of accurate comparison, we simply assume we know.
Matthew 7:1-5 “Judge not, that you not be judged. For with what judgement you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
This scripture speaks to every one of us because we have all judged others and failed to look at ourselves. It goes both ways, though. When you suspect someone is judging you, you need to stop and make sure it’s not you who is judging them. Even if you feel like you are a disappointment to them because in reality, their perception of you is never what you believe it is. If the enemy can make you believe that you are the one who needs to change, however, he has been successful in diverting your attention from God’s intentions for you.
We have the formula to live if only we will follow it. Romans 12:9-21
Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, giving to hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore, “If your enemy hungers, feed him; If he thirsts, give him a drink; For in doing so, you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
I think the whole point is this, if we are concentrating on loving one another the way we have been told to and focusing on our true love for Christ, we won’t even consider judging others, because we are so consumed with love for them instead. People will see that we aren’t judging but are living our lives closer with ambitions to please Him. Serving God by serving others with a good attitude is a good way to distract people from themselves and others and onto God Himself.