Judgement is one of those ambiguous words that is often misunderstood in the church; most people find it confusing as the Bible says that we are to judge (1 Corin 2:15) and not to judge (Mat 7:1). There are so many teachings these days about judging in the courts of heaven and how we as Christians need to judge more but on the contrary bandwagon there are teachings saying that we are not to judge others at all.
There are two types of judgement – one that brings condemnation and one that brings proper discrimination. We can simplify it even further by using the words “criticize” for unsuitable judgements and “discernment” for recommended judgement. Obviously discernment is what we want to operate out of but unfortunately we fall quite easily into the criticizing category. There are so many scriptures about judging that it would take a whole lesson to sift through the various components, the part I want to discuss today is; what do you do when judgement in the form of criticism comes against you?
This is a lesson I’m going through at the moment; you see for three years I have been a practising and spirit-filled Christian, I attended Bible studies, prayer nights, prayer walks, conferences, teaching schools etc but in the past seven months I have realised how religious I have become, I have done all of this out of an expectation and teachings that this is what Christians have to do but God is showing me otherwise. I had a great chat with a friend of mine the other night who is going through a similar testing and she aptly put it as such; “For years I have been taught that this book is orange but God is telling me it is purple. I want to believe it is purple but I have the members of the church shouting at me, saying it is orange and that I’m being deceived!” So what do we do?
For me I’m doing what God tells me to do and I’m so grateful that God gave me the husband I have as he is in full support of the changes and learning lessons we’re going through. From Day 1 we agreed that we would follow five simple rules:
1) Love God with all of our being
2) Love the one in front of us (thanks Heidi Baker)
3) Do what God tells us to do
4) Sow into people’s lives (not just financially)
5) Heal the sick, feed the hungry, clothe the poor, cleanse the leper
In following these rules we have not attended quite a few church sessions, I have not been to any mid-week meetings and I only go to see ministering speakers if God tells me to. As you can guess I have come under criticism and am often fronted with questions and statements like; “Where were you on Sunday?”, “Are you backsliding?”, “I suppose it’s just where you are at!” oh and my favourite one, “The pastor expects you to be at church as you are a leader!” (The pastor hasn’t even mentioned anything to me about this)
A part of me wants to rise up and lash out (that’s not the nice part) and the other part of me is saddened and hurt by the responses (self-pity can sometimes come in) and yes then there is the prideful part of me that thinks we have done more in the last 7 months of ministering to people and leading people to God than the whole church has done in the last year (I know, it’s not a nice part either) But thank the Lord for discernment as I know that these feelings are like poison and not from God and so I can repent and I ask for wisdom in dealing with these situations as Christ exampled for us. It also goes to show that I am human, instead of letting these feelings fester (I tend to be a “bottle up” type of person) I let God know how I am feeling and I’m choosing to trust He will lead me down the right path He has planned for me.
I’m also grateful that God has given me friends who are experiencing the same lesson so we can support each other, I’m grateful for the smiles and thank you’s people have given me when I have helped them, I’m glad for the pick me ups when I receive emails and text messages from people I know and from strangers living oversees who say that my words of encouragement and prayers have been answered. I now cling to 1 Sam 16:7b “The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” and I follow my gut feelings, if my actions lead me to help, love, heal and share then I know that the fruit will speak for itself and that I will have a deeper fellowship with both God and fellow believers and soon-to-be believers. I know God is looking at my heart and sometimes my heart wants to please man but I want it to please God first and foremost.
It’s not easy doing what God tells you to do when it seems foolish to others or when others think that you are being rebellious, so I propose a truce and let’s come to an agreement – don’t make comments on my whereabouts and behaviour unless God tells you to and let’s learn to support each other with encouragement and love whether we agree on the process of action taken or not. Let’s allow God to change and stir things up – let’s open our homes to feed the hungry, let’s give hugs to those who are hurting, let’s pray for one another and yes, if it means missing a couple of church sessions because God tells us to go visit someone or invite someone around for lunch then let’s just do it!
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By cooldesign, published on 02 September 2013
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