One of the areas I thought I should segue into specifically during the endurance of trials is the tendency to judge others or react in ways that are contrary to what the Word teaches. In times where we are in an inconvenient living situation or we are stressed, faced with what seems to be to us, an unfair situation it’s easy to lose focus when we are overwhelmed with many so many things going on around us. We already see many injustices taking place within our country that we know are wrong, but some of us are seeing it right in our own households.
It is easy to get into the mind-frame of thinking ‘How dare they?!” ‘Why should he/she get away with treating me that way when I have done nothing to do them?!’ It is an outrage at the disrespect many times. While someone younger should respect their elders, we have to remember we too, are being tested. In that moment, we are tempted to fly off the handle and this my friends can indicate anger/bitterness and possibly pride (in that we get into a ‘me’ only mentality). This method of thought shows also what is truly in our hearts. Anger.
It is the spirit of indignation that tempts us to respond. I’ll admit folks I am far from perfect and have messed up a few times. One time when I was on the verge of saying some choice words to a family member, the Lord reminded me in my spirit that some of the tests I was enduring are not always just about me. That’s right. They are often at times also a test of the other person, especially, when that particular person has been approached in love and respect, has been forgiven and has had mercy extended to them many, many times, and still chooses to treat you or I with disrespect whether knowingly or unknowingly. Sometimes, it may even seem deliberate but how are we to know the other person’s thoughts?
This is also why we are told to make allowances for each other’s faults because we simply should not act based on an assumption. Keep in mind, it does not matter what they do (God will be the judge on that) but it does matter very much so, what YOU DO and HOW YOU respond. Words do have power and it is important to remember Jesus told us that we will be judged for what we say -and folks I fit into this camp too, where I also have to be very conscious in what I say when dealing with someone whom I feel has wronged me. I remind everyone that when I say ‘you’ I am referring to you the reader from that perspective in my teaching.
Now of course, many of us have been guilty of doing this before but it is important to realize what is causing us to react so as to avoid repeating this sin in the future. Naturally when we slip up, we learn from it, repent and make our best effort to handle it better next time (there will be other times). It is important to get this down given how much inconsideration we are seeing in our world at this time.
We do not want to be the ones being judged for it, but rather, we seek to live righteously as the Word teaches us to do. This in no way suggests we are ‘holier than thou’ or better than anyone; We are to live by example with prayer that the way we conduct ourselves will rub off on those who may be not living righteously.
Even if we feel they do not, we are to forgive and continue to pressing on. Jesus told Peter to forgive seventy times seven. Now that comes out to 490 but are any of us really keeping track? First of all, I doubt we will need to forgive any one person that many times but what Jesus means here is we do not hold a grudge. How many sins have we committed that the Lord has forgiven us for? I’m sure He has forgiven us more than 490 times! There is truth to what true love is and forgiving and forgetting. As Jesus forgave us so must we forgive others, no matter what we are going through. Even if we feel so wronged, we must remember God will contend with them at the time He chooses. That is not up for us to decide.
Another factor we need to pay attention to in these times is the favoring of one person over another. This is easy to do in not only a household where strife abounds but in a country that is so divided because people have a tendency to pit people off against each other. If we are not to judge others should we not treat everyone as equals as we are part of the same body of Christ? In these trying times, I have seen it many times where someone may be in need but there is selfishness or no consideration to the one in need but only those whom are known to that person or share a close relationship. Folks, I am not going to go into too much detail here on this as I previously wrote about this under the entry titled ‘Help Those Less Fortunate In Times of Need’ not long ago, but this has been ongoing and we need to consider that we must judge fairly when it comes to those in need not those we like just because.
I am also seeing this on some Christian message boards as well where an original poster says something and nobody gives the original post any attention but will thumb up the response to the reply because they already know that person. Very well, but do you not think you should show support for the person who posted first? Perhaps they are reaching out and testing the waters. Perhaps they are there because on the surface it seems friendly and they want to see if it is a forum or board where they can go for support should things get bad or they may simply have nobody else.
There are many people alone and scared right now and just downright sad. They could be hurt internally or how do you know it may not be an angel sent by God and you are being tested in that regard?
It should be considered that selfless acts of kindness are rewarded unto those who notice the outcast that was rejected. The church has already been divided as it is, so in this season of testing should we not be a shining bright example in Christ for others to see in regards to eliminating the hypocrisy we have been accused of? This behavior has greatly, for many years, turned those away whom God may be desiring to save. Jesus didn’t reject us when we called on Him so why should we treat others the exact opposite by our inactions? If this is uncomfortable to read then perhaps it is conviction to do what is right for not doing what is right is a sin.
In times such as these, as Christians, we need to be supportive and encouraging to each other. Many are in dire circumstances and have found out very harshly at times, who their true friends are. Many are left with none. I have seen the comments on YouTube on Christian videos and everywhere else in between. I’ve been there and I can relate to how they feel. Another perspective; How do you know that person isn’t looking for support because they are one step away from committing suicide and they just need to be witnessed the good news or given comfort and hope? I’d like to share a testimony on this very subject;
In April 2020, when I was briefly on Twitter while we were all on house-arrest, there was an Iraq veteran who was scared and stressed. He and his wife had just had a terrible fight (likely due to the stress of the lockdowns) and he had finished off a pint of Jack Daniels. He was one step away from putting a gun to his head but he cried out and the tweet went viral. People from all around the world stepped in without even knowing this man to remind him that Jesus was with him and why he shouldn’t make the mistake of pulling that trigger. We were all leaving prayers in the comments. While this was an extreme circumstance, it shows prayer and support go a long way; he went to bed that night in the peace of Christ and did not kill himself. The next morning, we all followed up with him and he was in good spirits and overjoyed at the outpouring of intercessory prayer and support. He and his wife made amends and all was well.
So you see, because of how his family of fellow Christians moved immediately and stepped in to do the right thing the situation ended in a blessing rather than in a tragedy. How many others are there that reach out in other ways we may not consider? My point is, we need to take caution to remember that some individuals as circumstances present themselves, whether good or bad have been led where they are for a reason and sometimes all they need is to know that someone cares about them.
While we should and do need to be cautious due to the number of trolls out there in internet land looking to cause trouble, we also need not be hypocrites when it comes to welcoming a member of the same body into our circles when the approach is innocent. If they haven’t done anything wrong why are we ignoring them? How would you feel if you felt ignored? These are behaviors we all need to be reflecting on. There is always room for improvement and we are not better than anyone else.
My friends it is my hope and prayer that my words have been effective in helping us all understand our responsibilities when it comes to how we should conduct ourselves as all being members of the same body of Christ. Praise be to God in Jesus’ name for leading me in being able to write this out so all may come to understanding that we may agree with one another on our path to victory in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Verses as they pertain to the above;
Philippians 2: 2-4 (NLT)
2 Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. 3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 (NLT)
4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
Colossians 3:13 (NLT)
13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.
Matthew 12:36 (NLT)
36 And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak.
Matthew 18:21-22 (NLT)
21 Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” 22 “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!
Luke 6:31 (NLT)
31 Do to others as you would like them to do to you.
Hebrews 8:12 (KJV)
12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
James 2:4-10,13 (NKJV)
4 have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?
5 Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?
6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts?
7 Do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called?
8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well; 9 but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.
13 For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
James 4:17 (NLT)
17 Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.
Romans 2: 1-11 (NLT)
1 You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things.
2 And we know that God, in his justice, will punish anyone who does such things. 3 Since you judge others for doing these things, why do you think you can avoid God’s judgment when you do the same things?
4 Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?
5 But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.
6 He will judge everyone according to what they have done. 7 He will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers.
8 But he will pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and instead live lives of wickedness. 9 There will be trouble and calamity for everyone who keeps on doing what is evil—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile.
10 But there will be glory and honor and peace from God for all who do good—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. 11 For God does not show favoritism.
James 4:11-12 (NKJV)
1 Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?
2 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask.
3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.
4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
5 Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”?
6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:
“God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.”
Humility Cures Worldliness
7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.
10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
Do Not Judge a Brother
11 Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12 There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?
Jeremiah 15:19 (NLT)
19 This is how the LORD responds:
“If you return to me, I will restore you so you can continue to serve me.
If you speak good words rather than worthless ones, you will be my spokesman. You must influence them; do not let them influence you!
Mark 8:15 (NLT)
15 As they were crossing the lake, Jesus warned them, “Watch out! Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and of Herod.”
Hebrews 13: 1-2 (NLT)
1 Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. 2 Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!
John 8:7 (NKJV)
7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
Romans 12:2, 9-21 (NLT)
2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
3 Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. 4 Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, 5 so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. (Note this is about respecting each other as we are all part of the same body)
9 Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. 11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.
12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. 13 When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. 15 Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!
17 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.
19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say,
“I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord.
“If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.”
21 Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.