I have come face to face with judgment lately.
I judge. I judge you. I judge others. I judge those I don’t know at all. I judge wrongly.
And it’s ugly. It makes me ugly. It reveals my heart, the part of my heart I’d rather not show the world, but I confess judgment has been a big part of my life. It became normal to find something about someone that I can judge so I elevate myself, or compare, or use as an excuse not to let them into my heart.
What a prideful, damaging thing judgment is.
What leads up to judgment is worse than the final gavel.
The opposite of patience with another, is judgment.
Patience with people is driven by mercy. And there is no mercy in judgment.
James, Jesus’ little brother, calls me out in chapter 4:2.
“You are jealous and covet and your desires go unfulfilled; so you become murders [to hate is to murder as far as your hearts are concerned]. You burn with envy and anger and are not able to obtain the gratification, the contentment, and the happiness that you seek, so you fight and war.”
I can be self focused, filled with and driven hard by my desire to obtain contentment and happiness. And doing everything in my grasp to find it on my own leads me to envy, jealousy, selfish ambition, anger and ultimately JUDGEMENT.
“You do not have because you do not ask. Or you ask God for them and yet fail to receive, because you ask with wrong purpose and evil and selfish motives.” James 4:3
I ask selfishly far too often. Anyone else?
I want contentment and happiness and gratification on my terms. My life. My plan. My longings fulfilled the way I think they should be, on my time frame. Pride envelops me and turns my eyes inward, hot with judgment on others. A dry and arid place.
There’s my ugliness out on the table.
“Therefore you have no excuse or defense or justification. O man, whoever you are who judges and condemns another. For in posing as judge and passing sentence on another, you condemn yourself, because you who judge are habitually practicing the very same things that you censure and denounce.” Romans 2:1
Gut punch. I will be judged with the measure I judge. Let God do the judging…and instead of judging he offers MERCY. He waits patiently. He offers peace.
“Or are you so blind as to trifle with and presume upon and despise and underestimate the wealth of His kindness and forbearance and long-suffering patience?” 2:2
Yes, I’ve been so blind at times. I have presumed upon his kindness and patience for me…but have not given that to others. Long-suffering is not really full of dancing and rainbows and pretty things. The word makes my mouth dry just saying it. Yet I’ve been given that kindness, forbearance and LOTS of patience in all that ugly junk I just laid out on the table before you.
“Are you unmindful or actually ignorant of the fact that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repent? 2:2
“But he gives more grace…” James 4:6
God’s patience with me, his mercy, his kindness is the trump card in all my ugliness. I can choose to be unmindful, ignorant of it and live in the bondage of Judgment and all it’s ugly associates, in lock down, wishing I could find heart peace.
Accept the kindness, accept the mercy, accept the grace… it will lead to heart peace.
“Come close to God and He will come close to you. Recognize that you are sinners, get your soiled hands clean; realize you have been disloyal wavering individuals with divided interests and purify your hearts… Humble yourselves, feel very insignificant in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you, He will lift you up and make your lives significant.” James 4:8-10
I think those Words of Life speak for themself. Heart peace and patience is not found without the submission to the Prince of Peace.
The amount of peace in my life is directly related to the amount of my life I’m submitting to the Prince of Peace.
“But glory and honor and heart peace shall be awarded to everyone who habitually does good…” Romans 2:10
I have tasted this heart peace recently. It’s more satisfying than I can describe. It’s truly the “peace that passes all understanding.” It’s life changing. It’s free of judgment. It allows me to look at people and not find that one thing to hold against them. I can see them as an Image Bearer.
Stop the war and ask for more of Him.