Maybe there are Christians that have never stumbled. I just know that I’m not one of them! I have made many mistakes in my lifetime. When God judges me, I hope that He considers the hurts and circumstances that led me down wrong paths. I don’t want God or anyone else to expect me to be perfect.
But, do I expect others to be perfect? Do I forget to consider all the hurts and circumstances that may be in their lives? Even worse, do I judge a person based on how they look?
Jesus said, “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” Matthew 7:2-3 NIV
I don’t know about you, but I want to be judged with abundant mercy!
I work in a large and very diverse middle school. I have an opportunity to ‘love and not judge’ every day. God has reminded me that many of these kids have not had the advantages in life that I had.
When I get impatient with a student and inwardly roll my eyes in disgust, Jesus speaks to my heart, “And you’re perfect? Do you even know what’s going on in this kid’s life?” Then, I am reminded of things I do know. He could be falling asleep in class because he slept in a car last night. Or maybe he doesn’t have a bed of his own, or maybe he was left alone with a crying baby all night while his mother was out.
When a student tells me to shut up, do I get angry and take it personally? God, remind me that maybe this child is never spoken to with respect and love at home. Maybe he is being abused and is lashing out at authority.
Maybe this child is apathetic because he hasn’t eaten since lunch at school yesterday.
Maybe he is apathetic because his mom died this weekend.
Maybe he acts out because his mom never shows up for visitation and he is disappointed over, and over, and over again. (All real examples)
Maybe, maybe, maybe…
If only we could see God’s plan for those we tend to judge. If only we could see them with God’s eyes of love and mercy. I am not special or better because of what was given to me. If anything, more is expected from me. More patience, more love, more understanding.
One morning on my way to school, I prayed “Father, I don’t know how to make a difference in the lives of my students, but you do. That very day my principal posted an article, The Judgement Cure. The author said, “You cannot influence anyone as long as you are judging them.”
How’s that for a quick answer? Wow! I’m still trying to learn this lesson. I believe it is the key to influencing others.
Because I have worked in 5 different public schools, I have seen abuse that the average middle-class person may never be exposed to – examples of abuse, neglect, and suffering that break my heart. May God soften our hearts and teach us to walk in love.
“… if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing … Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:2-8 NIV Read full chapter
(Reposted from 2017)
With Love, Cindy
Do you want to know more about Jesus? Check out my page Who Is Jesus?
Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash