Home > a new spirituality > its not what it looks like

its not what it looks like

Ever been misjudged?  I have.  I’m sure you have too. It’s very common.  I have been marked as a “black sheep”.  I’ve felt the murmurs of past friends who felt they could become my vindicator.  I’ve heard the whispers of those questioning my intentions.   I’ve seen the eyes watching how far I could fall so they could say “SEE! told you she was like that!”  Unfortunately, the judgments made against me only caused me to spiral further downwards.  That’s what judgment by man does.  It sees the worst in someone…. and pushes them towards it.  It’s not that we’re not responsible for our own actions, but I’ve experienced the beauty that graciousness gives in contrast.


Our family has been so blessed by the pastors of our church.  After coming to our church with many wounds, we were met with love, acceptance and graciousness when we expected judgment.  The result?  It ignited hope back in my heart and brought out the best in me.


Judgment by man destroys.   Graciousness given freely by man builds.


Judging is something we do a lot but don’t know much about.  We judge others, thinking we know better, but then when we’ve been on the receiving end of judgment, we get defensive and reply; “Don’t judge me”.


The problem with feeling the “right” to judge comes from when we’re feeling pretty good spiritually.  We’re in the Word, God is speaking to us…. we feel we know more and therefore have the right to judge or call weaknesses out of others.


The other problem is that we judge others by their actions but we judge ourselves by our intentions.  Very different.  We know what we “intend” to do so we feel justified in our actions.  We don’t know the “intentions” of others. All we see is the action that came out whether that was the outcome they were aiming for or not.


Jesus once said to His followers; “Do not judge or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged”.   Chances are you’ve heard that before.  I love the way the Message puts it:


“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.” (Matthew 7:1-2 The Message)


There is a beautiful word that can make a world of difference in our lives and in the lives of others: Empathy: walking in someone else’s shoes.  This doesn’t mean I need to become a drunk to understand one, or become a thief to relate with someone who habitually steals.   What empathy does is brings us back to the reality that the human heart can fall – and it’s easy….. for ANYONE.  No one with a human heart is exempt.  All are capable of the most shallow of acts.   Everyone can find themselves in a places they are not proud of if not careful.  Once we realize that, we can empathize with others weakness and graciousness can flow easily.


Does this mean we condone sin?  No.  But we certainly can’t judge it, can we?  No one is without the potential of doing wrong.


However, is there ever a time when judging is allowed?   What happens when someone’s behavior legitimately needs to be dealt with?   Here’s a short segment that I read in the book, “Total Forgiveness” by R.T. Kendall which gave me the best insight I’ve ever heard on this:


“A few years ago two leaders had the task of approaching a man in their church who was in an adulterous relationship.  On their way to the man’s home one leader said to the other, “Do you believe that you too could fall into this sin?”  The reply: “No”.  The leader then asked the question then said, “You are not qualified to go in and approach this man” – and the visit was cancelled.  For the essential qualification is the spirit required by Paul in Galatians 6:1: Brothers if someone is caught in sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently.  But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.

The person who knows full well that he or she could do the very same thing – but for the grace of God – is the only person qualified to help a fallen Christian.”

A new era has arrived.  One filled with empathy and grace.  I believe this wave of love will bring those who have been wayward, home.   Those who have felt shut out by the church will again feel like they can soar on the wings of God’s potential for their lives.


It’s time to bring out the best in others, not look at the worst.


When we do, just watch what happens.


Categories: a new spirituality
  1. February 24, 2011 at 8:14 pm


    Powerful post Connie! I think so often we don’t know how to extend grace to the person without condoning the action. That snippet out of the book was such a great illustration.

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