Yesterday was my weekly ladies’ Bible study, and the topic at hand was judging and blaming others. Each table was reading one verse and people were adding comments if we felt so led. Romans 14:10-13 came up:
Why do you criticize other followers of the Lord? Why do you look down on them? The day is coming when God will judge all of us. In the Scriptures God says, “I swear by my very life that everyone will kneel down and praise my name!” And so, each of us must give an account to God for what we do. We must stop judging others. We must also make up our minds not to upset anyone’s faith.
Those who know me won’t be terribly surprised to hear that I had comments. I don’t remember exactly what I said, but it was along the line that the reason we as Christians aren’t transparent and honest with each other is because we are so judgmental, expecting certain behaviors and rule-keeping from each other, and that the verse was saying we are all equal, completely in need of the blood of Jesus and having nothing of our own to make us right with God.
We continued on to other verses, some so well-known that I kind of let them sail right through my mind as it wandered around ADD land. (Something about a speck in someone’s eye and a plank in my own… )
I left Bible study to get to work on time, walked to my car, turned it on and WHAM! God started talking to me and he obviously wasn’t intending to stop until I listened.
(By the way, if you’re wondering what I mean when I say “God talking to me” – I’m not hearing voices, I don’t need medication. I mean a very strong, specific concept that won’t leave my mind even if I don’t like it, even if I wouldn’t have thought of it myself, even if I try to think about something else. AND it has to line up with Scripture. God would not tell me to go shoot people in McDonald’s or lock my kids in the basement for a week.)
God was talking to me, and he was telling me that I was the one that needed to hear that message about judgment. I was the one with the plank in my eye. “Me, God? How can you be saying that? I’m so non-judgmental. I’m not at all like those uptight, rule-keeping, critical types that hardly even understand mercy like Christians are supposed to…. OH….”
Huh. So that’s what he wanted me to see. I was incredibly judgmental of those I considered judgmental. I felt free to criticize those I found critical. I had a plethora of mercy for those that I felt were sometimes looked down on or judged, but I felt justified in being offended by those I had deemed the ones doing the judging. Not to their faces, to be sure, but in my heart or in occasional conversations with others.
The thing about a plank in your eye – you can’t get it out yourself. It’s an operation that needs a Great Physician. So right now I am feeling very humbled and praying for God to change this area of my heart. Any of you who are my friends in real life, please feel free to kick me in the shins if you hear judgment or critical talk coming out of my mouth.
Don’t say anything that would hurt another person. Instead, speak only what is good so that you can give help wherever it is needed. That way, what you say will help those who hear you. Ephesians 4:29 GWT