Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Series: The Root of Judgment

This is Part 1 of a collaborative blog series I'm doing with my good friend Tashara Ware, in which we've entitled, "The Judgment Seed".  My words will be in italics, her's in regular font.  Hope you enjoy. 

Hello readers.  Welcome to OUR hearts.  Let's begin. 

Hey yall! Remember on my tug of war blog, I said I wanted my blog to be more interactive? Well, I’m taking that a step further! I have collaborated with my dear friend, Claude, whom I’m always mentioning, to get another opinion on the subject of judgment. If people don’t know anything else about Tupac, aside from him supposedly being dead, they frequently quote him on saying, “Only God can judge me.” I wonder how many people have that tattooed somewhere on their body above a set of praying hands? But is this true? Is God really the only one who can judge? Is He judging today or saving that bit for the pearly gates? Why do people judge and where does it stem from? There’s so many issues. I couldn’t tackle this alone, so I brought Claude along with me! We are going to do this in a series we’ve titled The Judgment Seed. Welcome to part one!

The Root of Judgment

So you all won’t get too confused, Claude’s input on this will be in italics. Mine will be just normal font. Got that? Good.

Hello, my name is Claude (as already stated) and let me just be all formal and say it’s an honor to be collaborating on a blog with this woman.  This is a moment similar to if Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan joined forces (yes, I meant to say forces) to win a championship. The prodigy getting a chance to play with the whole reason why he even picked up a basketball. The only difference, Tashara and I are actually going to pass the ball. (thumbs up)

Claude just threw Kobe under the bus to prove a point, y'all. This blog series is going to be serious! Let’s take another trip into the lion’s den!

Let’s not run in there holding hands just in case they like to eat women first.  I wouldn’t want to get in their way.

It takes a woman to lead. Thanks, Claude for being such a gentleman and holding the den door open for me. I have noticed that a lot of people are stuck on this fact of being judged. No one wants anyone to judge them. We’re all filthy sinful human beings so no one even has the right or ability to judge, right? If we were in a church, this would be the moment when everyone would scream, Amen sista! We have this aversion to judgment because of the negative connotation associated with the word. Part of this issue boils down to linguistics. I KNEW that History of the English Language class would come in handy one day. Today is the day.

I went to my go to website, dictionary.com, and looked up the definition of judgment and they gave me a mouth full of truth.

Judgment (n): the ability to judge, make a decision, or form an opinion objectively, authoritatively, and wisely, especially in matters affecting action; good sense; discretion.

Where’s the negativity? This sounds pretty good to me. Do you see those adjectives? Aren't they awesome? Did anybody think the definition was going to be:

Judgment (n): The ability that only God has.

If you get a speeding ticket, you go to someone you don’t know and have never met and allow them to decide your fate. Have you ever asked a friend for advice and if there was just a hint of reprove in their voice, you went off on them? "Why are you judging me?! I thought I could tell you anything! You're no better than me!  What about the things that you've done?!" This has happened to me and I'm usually taken aback like, "Wait? YOU asked!"

What’s the difference in these two scenarios? The level of personal connection. Later on, you realize that friend was right and you go back to them, apologize and say, “You were right. Sorry that I went off on you. I just didn’t want to hear what you had to say. Thanks for the advice.” After you’ve dogged the judge out to everyone you know because you had to pay the ticket instead of going to driving school, you don’t go back to the judge and say, “Thank you for making me pay that ticket. I’ve learned my lesson.” You might have learned your lesson, but there’s no tie between you and the judge. There’s no connection or pull that will lead you back to the judge. You don’t know the judge like you know your friend.

When you don’t truly know or love God you don’t keep His commandments. You use Him when you need Him and that’s the extent of the relationship. So when someone calls you out on something you feel like you’re being judged. There’s a false sense of entitlement that people have. It makes us think our ways are right.

A person may think their own ways are right, but the LORD weighs the heart. Proverbs 21:2

When you really experience Jesus, you don’t feel entitled to anything. All you want to do is know Him and make Him known. You’re not worried about who’s judging you. That air of self importance is dropped. Your life is lived for His glory. It’s not about you anymore. Miniscule things like who’s “judging” you are no longer an issue. Your eyes will be opened to see and accept guidance and instruction that you once labeled as judgment.

We often forget that in Christ we're made whole, renewed, holy, and blameless. When we know Christ we become more like him. We’re given wisdom. We’re given the ability to be able to lead, guide, and instruct. Maybe you still want to call this judgment. Label it whatever you like.

We have confused judgment with instruction/opinion/love. (Yes, love). So not only is this a linguistic issue, it’s also an interpretation issue. Someone can love you enough to advise you on an issue. Immediately when this happens, we throw up our hands, pull up our walls, get defensive and yell, “Don’t judge me!” Just like in my previous illustration.

Well said, Tashara.  This generation has made that their motto for doing whatever they want to do. It amazes me now that I’m on the other end of that selfish-----selfless rope now to see how horrible I was. I mean, what if everybody thought that way? What if everybody, DID WHAT THEY WANTED TO DO?  So the guy on the killing spree could shout out, “only God can judge me”, and we have to let him go because that’s the sword to slice back at correction today. But even worse, we’re allowing sin to kill us and we’re shouting out only God can judge me. I do have a joke I like to think to people who say that, and just have a good laugh to myself. Next time someone says “Only God can judge me” to you, say this back, “Well, what you think He’s gonna say?”  Haha, carry on Tashara.

LOL! I’m going to try that! The place of instruction distinguishes between advice and judgment. What does that mean, you ask? It depends on what airport this “judgment” is flying from. If someone tells you something from their heart, this is not judgment. They might be giving you some tough love (ask Claude-I’m good at that) Yes she is. You grit your teeth, snarl, and scream judgment! Your perception overrules their purpose.

When this instruction comes from a place so high and mighty not even God can reach it then, yes, it is judgment. The Bible instructs us not to judge, but it does not say that you cannot give guidance. In whatever we say and whatever we do, it should come from a place of compassion and holiness. How this guidance is given is vital. How it is accepted is uncontrollable. Paul tells Timothy this:

“Preach God’s message and do it willingly even if it isn’t the popular thing to do. Be humble when you correct people who oppose you. You must correct people and point out their sins. But also cheer them up and when you instruct them always be patient.” - That’s a mingle of 2 Timothy 2:25 & 4:2

For this phrase, “Only God can judge me.” It is 100% true. When you’re standing outside the pearly gates, only God can judge you. One day, God’s judgment will be revealed- check out (Romans 2:5). Today is not that day, since God is not here on Earth. While you’re here on this Earth, sometimes you need help steering. God has placed teachers, pastors, counselors and people of wisdom to help you steer. When this instruction is given it should be given humbly, willingly, patiently and with encouragement. Don’t jerk the wheel and wreck all in the name of judgment.

Good stuff, Tashara! And a good Amen! I didn’t want to interrupt her too much, so it’s my turn.  This issue is vital to me.  It should be for all Christians, because it is the Great Commission and Jesus’ last words before He went up to be with God.  So we should be concerned with the fallings of man, however, let’s not be vultures and attack the dead with our King James beaks.  Jesus Christ was a gentleman. Amen, sir!

Oh, you judging people. We have to have faith in this verse:

 “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.”  Hebrews 6:4-6

This was said because if someone has TRULY tasted life, salvation, a little some some of Jesus, it’s impossible for them to turn around.  But note though, this doesn’t say, if they have truly tasted you making them feel bad and pushing them to repentance.  But if they truly taste our God, they’ll be changed.  If they truly taste of the heavenly gift, the ultimate joy of Jesus Christ dwelling in their hearts, they cannot turn around. God pretty much has faith in Himself that He can rock a person’s world if they let them. So, that needs to be our focus, to get people to just experience God first, and He’ll take care of all that other stuff. His kindness will always lead us to repentance (Romans 2:4) Now everybody go listen to You Are Good by Gateway Worship. Carry on, Claude.

I’ve recently just learned that just like Tashara stated earlier, God has placed people in our lives to give us the wise counsel.  So I think this “only God can judge me” type objection could stem from a lack of love in a person’s relationships. So that love thing is so clear to me now, because I ran into an incident the other day where a guy thought I was “judging” him.  And since he doesn’t know me and know that I love him, then it’s hard to accept advice.  I mean, think about it.  If someone walked up to you right now as you’re reading this on your computer or your phone, and tells you something like, “Get off of that.  You don’t need to be reading that right now.”  What would you do?  How many of us would immediately click the X on the top of the screen or close our phones?  Ok. Now let’s change it. Same scenario, except it’s a close friend of yours?  You’d probably ask why or consider listening to them because you know they wouldn’t suggest that without any reason.  So the whole judging or wise counsel thing can be hard to intercept if the connection of love isn’t there.  This is probably why mission trips do so well because the people in those foreign countries consider it such a great sacrifice for us spoiled Americans to come and experience their world. The same with this guy who thought I was judging him. He doesn’t really know me.  He doesn’t know I truly love him enough to try to minister to him, because that connection of love wasn’t there.

Let’s sum this all up in a few sentences if possible. Godly counsel should be given from a place of love and concern. Knowing God transforms a person’s perception of judgment. Granted, not everyone who instructs you is for you and not everyone is against you, but at least consider what is being said before screaming, “Only God can judge me!”

And the church said?...


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