Category Archives: Hebrews 12

Judgment

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged” (Matthew 7:1 NIV).

 

Do you know why Jesus commands us not to judge?  Because it HURTS.

 

Judgment is not fun, and feeling someone’s criticism, condemnation, or careless words can break our hearts and possibly falter our faith.  Because judgment goes to the core of who we are – our identity, our ideals, and our integrity – and proclaims we have failed.  And who likes to feel like a failure?

 

Don’t get me wrong.  We all make mistakes, and hopefully we all learn and grow from them.  They are necessary to help us see when we have done, thought, or gone wrong.  They should help us do better, speak kinder, and love easier.  We should not feel like a failure in these instances – because grace will come in and pick us up and point us in the right direction.

 

What I am talking about is …

Feeling the weight of someone’s (harsh) opinion pushing you down.

Battling the emotions of someone’s (careless) words defining your character.

Walking through people’s (uninformed) assumptions about your motives.

 

Judgment.

To be assigned value possibly contrary to your character and core.

To be pronounced not good (enough), possibly without insight into your motives and methods.

To be critiqued and found guilty, possible based on inconclusive evidence.

To be criticized as wrong, possibly based on impossible or unchecked standards.

 

To be judged.  When you feel its weight – when your character is questioned and your integrity is challenged – it can break your heart.

 

Like it broke mine yesterday.  When I found out my subordinate went to the owner because she was concerned I was acting irresponsibly over payroll.  No, she never came and asked me questions after our initial tutorial session.  No, she never voiced anything to me.  Instead, she processed and came to the conclusion that I was cheating our techs – for no good reason.

 

And my heart broke when I was asked about it.  My eyes watered at having my integrity so easily challenged.  My temper flared at being so misunderstood – and then reported as unethical.  And my office door slammed shut as the emotions wildly bounced around my brain.

 

I was not OK.  Today, I am still struggling.

 

Being judged is hard.  It makes you question everything you think to be true.

 

And then as I wallow, God taps me gently on the broken and hurting spots.  And He lovingly whispers, “So now that you feel the sting, what will you do to deal with how YOU are judging others.”  OUCH!

 

So now I have two issues to deal with – feeling judged and being judged.  Where in the world do I start?

 

There are a few key reasons I need to start with my own judgmental heart.

  1. We are not the one true Judge
    • Psalm 50:6 – Let the heavens declare His righteousness, For God Himself isJudge. Selah
    • Isaiah 33:22 – For the Lordis our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; it is he who will save us.
    • 2 Timothy 4:1 – In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead,and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge
    • 2 Timothy 4:8 – Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
    • Hebrews 12:23 – to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,
  2. We do not have a good perspective
    • Isaiah 11:3 – His delight is in the fear of the Lord, And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, Nor decide by the hearing of His ears
    • John 7:24 – Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.
    • John 8:15 – You judge by human standards …
    • Hebrews 4:12 – For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
  3. We are really no better at heart
    • Ezekiel 16:52 – You who judged your sisters, bear your own shame also, because the sins which you committed were more abominable than theirs; they are more righteous than you. Yes, be disgraced also, and bear your own shame, because you justified your sisters.
    • Micah 7:3 – That they may successfully do evil with both hands— The prince asks for gifts,The judge seeks a bribe, And the great man utters his evil desire; So they scheme together.
    • Matthew 7:3-4And 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?
    • Acts 23:3 – Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! For you sit to judgeme according to the law, and do you command me to be struck contrary to the law?”
    • Romans 2:1 – You, therefore, have no excuse,you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.
    • Romans 3:23 – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
  4. It will come back to us
    • Matthew 7:1 – Do not judge, or you too will be judged
    • Matthew 7:2 – For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
    • Luke 6:38 – Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
    • Galatians 6:7 – Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap

 

Then I work on forgiveness.  Because it is the key to life – “14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15).  And I realize that if I cannot look at her next week and find grace, I am lost.  I close the door on God being able to radically shower grace on me.

 

I have to work through the pain and betrayal … and allow peace to overwrite them.  I have to let go of the anger and frustration … and allow forgiveness to redefine them.

 

Today, I am not there.  Grace is still fighting the good fight to reclaim my heart for Him.  So what hope do I have?

 

Psalm 23 – The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.      He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,     he refreshes my soul.  He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.  Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.  Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

 

He is with me.

He is comforting me.

He is pouring out His goodness on me.

He is giving me an abundance of peace and rest to calm me down.

He is loving me back to wholeness.

 

So thank You loving Father that this one episode will NOT define or destroy me.  Thank You gracious Father for Your goodness at work.  I know I WILL get through this – and then past it.  And I will be stronger, ready to the next battle.  Thank You for Your hand on me every step of my life!

 

Marie Fremin.  2/24/18

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Resentment

Am I the only one this week who feels the loving elbow of God nudging itself somewhat forcefully into her ribs?

 

It’s OK if I’m the only one.  Because I am in a season – or I guess more specifically a valley – where God and I are wrestling out another piece of my broken human spirit.

 

And as of today, this piece now has a name.  Resentment.

resentment 1

Getting to work this morning, the first thing I encountered was a message that exemplifies the spirit of my office – “that’s not my job … that’s your job”.

 

And upon reading that, the dark cloud hanging over my head for a few days (OK, maybe weeks), gloomy yet unnamed, suddenly had a name.  And that name is resentment.

 

What is weighing me down is resentment.  That darkness that creeps a few steps deeper into my consciousness is resentment.  And it is an overall ugliness of mind, tongue, and attitude that wants to consume me like the cloud that covers Pigpen in Peanuts cartoons.

resentment 2

So I never see clearly.

So I never think rationally.

So I never speak grace-fully.

 

And there resentment hangs a black cloud over my head, slowly blowing its breeze of depression and oppression over me.

 

And since I accept the breeze and breathe it in, I am slowly becoming a walking epitome of resentment.

 

I am angry.

I am mad.

I am furious.

I am upset.

I am anxious.

I am frustrated.

I am sad.

I am honestly a little disgusted.

 

I am all kinds of levels of crazy and messed up.  Because I have fed into the spirit of resentment.  I have given it a place.  I have allowed it space.  And therefore it is hindering my race.  I am off-track of God’s purpose and off-course of God’s grace.

 

Because I am letting “it is not my job” and “that is not my problem” attitudes affect me.  I am allowing resentment to come in, sit down, and participate in the day.

 

And this is the boom God dropped on me in just in a few minutes this morning.  God and I had a serious moment when I started seeing all of this clearly and when my angst was given a name.

 

And there was actually a moment of celebration.  Yes, really.  No joke.  Why?

 

Because now I can tame what has been named.  Because now I can claim God’s grace over what has been named.

 

I can now tame – and completely stop – the influence of resentment in my life.

I can now tame – and completely still – my agitated thoughts and careless tongue.

I can now tame – and completely silence – my bad/ugly/hostile attitudes.

 

Because my angst has a name.  And because it does, it is subject to God’s authority.  Philippians 2:9-11 – “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  Everything on earth is subject to His glorious name.

 

Including resentment.

 

So now the challenge becomes how do I deal with it.

 

What’s the battlefield?  Every minute of every day of human life.

More narrowly?  The hours spent at work.

 

What’s the victory?

Not letting resentment consume me.

Not letting resentment define my emotional state.

Not letting resentment guide/influence my choices.

 

Because resentment is a valley.

 

And we aren’t supposed to live or stay in the valleys.  We aren’t supposed to bunk down or camp out in the valley.  Because the valley is only a testing ground.  It is the place of decision where we have to decide to put our faith into action.  It is the passageway from one victory to the next.  It is the place where we are strengthened by truth and encouraged by progress to continue our journey.  The valley is where we decide – and then declare – God is faithful and true.

 

So why am I stuck, mired down in resentment?  Because I have forgotten that we have to do what God says and to move in His direction when we are in the valley.  We have to keep moving toward the given way out instead of standing still.  We have to be like David and run in faith with the great hope of grace (1 Samuel 17:48).

 

But I have not been trying to get out of the valley of resentment.  Instead, I have been building walls and stacking them as high as they can go.  I have not been walking through.  Instead, I have planted my feet firmly and refused to move.  I have not tired to be or do better, in any way.  Instead, I have chosen to embrace resentment and wallow in her ways.

 

So what’s the hard truth this time?  Resentment is NOT God’s best for me.  It never will be.  Because resentment keeps me stuck, unmoving and unchanging, in its deadly quicksand-like vise.  Because resentment keeps me from letting go of what does not promote God’s goodness or propel God’s plans.

 

Hebrews 12:1 – “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”

 

I am not running toward God.  I am clinging to resentment.  I am weighing myself down with foolishness and trapping myself in resentment’s sinful web.

 

And I own this.  Fully and completely.  Therefore, God’s grace can begin its healing and restorative work.

 

Because resentment cannot hide in the shadows or stay cloaked in darkness once it is named.  It has a name now.  It is known now.  Its effects are seen now.

 

Romans 5:3-5 – “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

 

Now hope can invade all resentment’s spaces and fill me up with grace.

Now hope can begin a new work.

 

Yes, I am still in the valley.

Yes, I am still finding resentment in spaces within my heart.

 

But God is with me.

God is for me.

God loves me.

 

So one day very soon I will be able to triumphantly declare my victory over resentment!

 

Marie Fremin.  5/18 and 5/21/17