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I Can’t Stand Judgmental Christians

Written By Kelsey Tarver, USA

I used to think like this: Judgmental? Not me! I can’t stand people who judge others.

The contradiction was right there in the statement, and somehow I was oblivious to it. But I said this boldly because I meant it.

The very sound of the word “judgmental” makes me cringe. If I close my eyes, it makes me picture a proud face with a stuck up nose, glaring eyes, and an air of disapproval looming in my direction. But the worst kind of judgment is the kind that comes from a loved one or a friend.

I know all about being judged. Growing up as a pastor’s kid, I became used to all eyes being glued to my family. Like a giant magnifying glass constantly observing; “What is she wearing? Why were they late to church today? Is that a new car? How did they afford that?  Why is she talking in service?” Even into my adult years as a member of staff in a church, I have felt the constant eyes critiquing my every move.

Of course, not everyone was like this. For the most part I loved growing up in front of so many people in a loving church family. But aren’t there always just a few members who know how to make your blood boil? I would store them in a place in my mind that said, “Well, I love them but I don’t have to like them.”

This created a passion in me to never judge other people. I longed to extend grace and understanding, and judgmental gossip alone would make rage stir up inside my soul. My sensitivity towards this was birthed out of a very pure place. I simply longed so deeply for others to not have to feel bullied or judged, and I wanted everyone I encountered to feel accepted and loved.

But somehow along the way this pure desire ended up manifesting itself into a form of judgment that my eyes could not see. What was once an aspiration towards true love turned into love for people who were like me, with limited grace towards others who struggled with judgment or gossip.

The irony is thick! The very thing I hated, ended up being exactly what I became.

 

The trap of judgement

As Christians, I think it can be very easy to fall into the trap of judgment because we all have a high standard of how we want each other to live. We know what the Bible says and we expect each other to act like it. Unfortunately, when judgment sneaks its way into our church walls, we start looking a whole lot more critical of one another and a lot less like love.

Judgment has a slippery little way of sneaking its way into our hearts if we aren’t paying attention to our motives. It’s a sin that can sometimes be birthed from a pure place of longing for justice, but when only justice is present and grace gets left behind it leaves both sides feeling wounded. As Christian writer C.S. Lewis said, “See the Bear in his own den before you judge his conditions.”

Maybe that person absolutely hates that they are judgmental or gossipy. Maybe just like any other addict, they have to work each and every day to jump over their hurdle of their temptation to judge. Maybe their mom, or grandma, or family comes from a long line of being very judgmental and it’s all they’ve ever been around and have to work their tail end off to stay positive.

I judged judgmental people because I had, by accident, boxed them up and labeled them all the same. Gossips, pot stirrers, mean, etc. but the thing is no one person is the same. Each person has different life experiences, pains, and pasts shaping them. Lewis also says, “Don’t judge a man by where He is, because you don’t know how far He has come.”

Once I understood that hurt people, hurt people, it made me feel more sympathetic to people who spend so much time talking about others or tearing them down with judgment or gossip.

 

Love one another

We are to love judgers the same way we would an alcoholic or a sex or drug addict. To know that every person has a weakness, and that the quickest way to helping one another overcome our issues is to lay our judgment aside and learn to simply be there for one another, in love and in grace.

Scripture is very clear about judgment. I cringe now thinking that I used to hear lessons about judgment and somehow thought it wasn’t my burden to bear. God taught me to check my heart, know my worth, and never ever think that I had something mastered in my faith walk. The enemy loves to watch pride manifest in the areas that we think we have under control.

It is human nature to have certain people we connect to more than others in the body of Christ. But God has taught me that though that might be true, each and every person deserves to be treated with the same level of love and respect, even if it seems extremely hard to do so.

God gives us the ability to love deeper than we could have ever dreamed, and this applies even to those people who just seem to crawl under our skin. Unity is essential to the bride of Christ, and when we truly leave judgment at the door, it leaves a much more beautiful and whole picture of true Christ-like love on display.

 

“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.  For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?  How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye?  Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” (Matthew 7:1-5)

Loving Can Hurt Sometimes

Written by Andrea Chan, Singapore

We all know the unexplainable joy and completeness that comes from loving someone and being loved in return. But love can sometimes also cause us deep pain. Although we normally associate these feelings with romantic love, it is just as applicable in our friendships.

Recently, I realized how painful it is to love wholeheartedly.

Having just completed my studies in Canada and returning home to Singapore, I spent a lot of time catching up with friends from church, university, and childhood. Interestingly, all the conversations started with them telling me that they had been reading my blog posts and asking about what led me to leave the community back then. As I shared my story with them, they opened up to me about the struggles they were facing.

I tend to be drawn to people who are hurting; I like to befriend them, walk with them, and encourage them as they go through tough times. But I’ve never seen so many friends struggling at one go—I was overwhelmed by the hurt they felt.

The struggles they faced included suicidal thoughts, depression, self-doubt, eating disorders, and self-harm. And they were usually due to one of these reasons: peer pressure, stress or relationships. It broke my heart to hear how much they were suffering. I could see the hurt in their eyes, and yet I could not find the right words to say. As much as I wished I could take away their suffering, all I could really do was to listen to their stories, offer to pray for them, hug them, or simply be a listening ear.

I felt helpless. There were times that I wanted to give up loving and caring, because I felt tired of trying to care for them and inadequate in trying to help them. I became wary of how deeply I allowed myself to love someone, because I knew how painful it was to love with every fiber of my being.

But God reminded me through His word of the goodness and beauty of love. Regardless of how we feel, we should still love fearlessly and faithfully. Because love “always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinthians 13:7).

Of late, I’ve been prompted to break down my image of having everything under control, and to be more open about my struggles with my friends—to remind them that they are not alone.

In my own small ways, I try to do what I can to brighten up someone else’s day, be it a friend or a stranger. I’m also trying to make time to catch up with my friends over meals and be a support and encouragement to people around me as much as I can. I have started to reach out to a young girl from my church and I try to talk to individuals who seem lonely. Once, I even hugged a stranger after overhearing her phone conversation about her bad day.

Through my own flawed version of love, I’m given a glimpse of God’s love. It pains God greatly to see us suffer and feel hopeless, just as it hurts us when we see a loved one suffering—but God’s love far surpasses ours. His love is unconditional, all-forgiving, and everlasting. It was love for us that led Him to die on the cross for our sins to save us from the ultimate pain and suffering: eternal death and separation from God.

And He has given us this commandment, “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34). We are to love the people around us—the lovable and the unlovable. I remember that the feeling of being loved and knowing that there were people looking out for me. Love was the driving force that kept me going when I was struggling. I know that loving is not easy… it is an emotional investment and a long-term commitment. But a little love goes a long way. Just like the people who chose to love me, I want to pay it forward by being that source of love for my friends, and I hope this article encourages you to do so too.

Let us choose to love as an outflow of Christ’s love for us. May we love so greatly, so vulnerably, and so fiercely just as how Christ loves us.

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)

Not about Me

By Elle, Walk The Same

Read: Romans 12:10
“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. “

Over the years, I’ve come to learn that I am the happiest when I see someone whom I love and care about being happy and joyful. The feeling that I get inside cannot be put into words.  That’s not saying that I don’t love it when people do things for me; that makes me happy too. But if you were to ask me to compare the two, I’d say I am even happier when people around me are happy. The joy is infectious and amazing.

When I put the well-being and joy of another person ahead of my own, it makes me realize that much of life isn’t always about me and that it encompasses everyone. We live in a culture where we are told to “pamper ourselves” and to ensure that we are happy and comfortable all the time. In the Bible, however, we see Christ taking on the role of a servant and washing the feet of His disciples. Yes, He is God—yet He chose to put others ahead of His comfort.

We should avoid looking to our own interests and needs only, and learn to love and care for others. This is the way of Christ and this is how we are told to live. It’s not always about me.

ODJ: your mission statement

December 2, 2014 

READ: Ephesians 5:1-2 


Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ (vv.1-2). 

Deep down, each of us longs to know what we’re here on earth to do—to have some sense of purpose and mission. Some people have a ‘life verse’ from the Bible that gives them succinct focus. If you don’t have one of those, perhaps today’s passage is a good one to adopt.

What’s your life’s mission? According to Ephesians, our life mission has three elements:

To live loved. Before there is any grand vision for you to pursue or great accomplishment to achieve, you’re to receive the love that God has for you. We’re His “dear children” (Ephesians 5:1; 1 John 3:1). Before we ever loved Him, He loved us (4:19). “God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners” (Romans 5:8). Before there’s anything for you to do, there’s something for you to be—loved by God.

To imitate God. Because you’re His child, you’re to imitate your Father as a child imitates her parent (Ephesians 5:1). Notice how this is stated more in character terms than in career decisions. We imitate Him by being kind, compassionate and forgiving to others—the way He’s been to us (4:32). He sets the standard, we follow. He’s the source of goodness, and we’re channels of it.

To love others. “Live a life filled with love,” Paul says, “following the example of Christ” (5:2). All the dreams we pursue, all the career goals we set, all the tasks we do are to reflect the great commandment of love for God and others (Matthew 22:37-39). And this love is measured in sacrifice (Ephesians 5:2). The love we’ve received from God, and watched Him live out, we now offer to those around us.

Live loved, imitate God, love others. That’s the ideal mission statement for your life. —Sheridan Voysey

365-day plan› Ephesians 6:10-20

MORE
Read Romans 5:5 and consider how God fills your heart with His love. 
NEXT
Do you ever rush to do something for God rather than be loved by God? How would your life be different if you did nothing but live out your ‘mission statement’ for a year? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)