Thursday, April 21, 2016

~ Don't Judge Me ~ Understanding What That Means

How silly are we to think that we can behave like heathens and God won't see it. What are we thinking anyway?
Out of sight, out of mind? 
That has to be it. 

We seem to forget just how very sovereign He is. He sees every single one of His sheep and knows exactly what we are up to. He knows precisely where we are, who we are with, what we are doing and He even listens in on our conversations. Because He is everywhere, the very idea that we can keep Him out of anyplace is just a joke. He IS there, wanting to be recalled, waiting to be invited, even though it is ALL His and no invitation is ever necessary. 

He has given us clear direction on how we are supposed to handle any situation we come up against in His word and His pride swells when He sees His lambs reading it, deciphering it and putting it to good use.

On the other hand, there must be moments when even God gets frustrated with our lack of desire to seek that wisdom out, seek Him out. I know He gets frustrated with me, and I press in daily. Reading His word, feeding myself only good things and trying to live up to the directions in Psalm 100:4

  "Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise! 
Give thanks to him; bless his name!"

So even on those days when we loose sight of those instructions; and get frustrated with situations involving our jobs, our families, friends and total strangers and we forget to seek Him first when something happens, and then we just go off on Him, expecting Him to "Please, Fix It", we are forgetting to enter His gates with thanksgiving, enter His courts with Praise and Bless His Holy name. Yet even on those days, He is still listening, still watching and probably sighing a huge sigh because we refuse to cooperate! 

We forget that all the answers to any situation are right there in His Word and we lose our tempers or patience or whatever it is and we get frustrated and sometimes even angry with people and say the wrong things, do the wrong things and make messes we don't have the power to undo. Then we go running to Him to solve our problems for us. If only we would have just listened, if only we had pressed in and behaved according to His instruction. But he forgives us, because he loves us that much and more. 

Funny thing about God is that those, are His most amazing moments, the moments when He can step in and change everything just like that! He knows us and He loves us and He uses those situations to strengthen us and change us. He asks that we do our part to help or asks us to be still and get out of His way (and believe me when we don't be still, we do get in His way with our clumsy attempts to fix things on our own.) I have personally earned this badge.

He pointed out to me one occasion, the significance of being honest and direct when someone hurts you...

Tell them what they did that hurt it out, He whispered (Matthew 18:15)

It became apparent to me real fast that I was attempting to do something that was not welcome, but I didn't give can God be wrong? He can't. 
He's never wrong. His wisdom and promises to us are never to be forgotten, yet somehow I was made to feel that I did something very wrong.

I prayed about it, talked it through with my pastor and then the other day, I was reading some things in my Facebook feed when a small passage jumped out at me. It was a brief entry written by a member of our local area prayer team. It read like this...

Even Today.......When a Believer in Jesus is Offended or hurt by someone, sees something they are doing wrong, and responds by speaking out against them and even prays that way against that person - It is Witchcraft, it is Even Christian Witchcraft. It matters not if the person who offended you is a Christian or an unbeliever. We are commanded by the Word of God to Bless those who Curse us.

I commented on the post: What about Matthew 18:15? 
Within a few minutes, the prayer warrior replied:

 "That's the error most of us make. 
 - We don't go to people and point out their offense, instead, we rant and rave and curse them to others. The scripture reads, "If your brother, (or sister) sins against you, go and show him his faults in private; if he listens you have won your brother. 16. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. 

I replied: But people don't like it when you go to them and point out their offense. It makes them mad. Even when it is done out of love and kindness, even when you pour your heart out with sincerity, and even when you have prayed about it and God gives you the words to say. It is still resented it, and then they are the ones who get bent out of shape and they are in fact the ones who do all the ranting and raving, and - they- accuse - you -of- judging -them. 
It happens all the time in our Politically Correct Society. 

His response was this: "Then all we can do is Bless them and Pray for them and for their deliverance and sometimes we need to pray that our own eyes are opened so we ourselves are not deceived." (Galatians 6:1)

This got me thinking about my own situation, and about a similar yet entirely different scripture, also in Matthew, which related in many ways.

I compared them trying to understand how they could be so easily misunderstood, so easily taken out of context. But people do it, in fact... 

Matthew 7:1 has become the go to scripture for anyone who believes that by receiving Grace from God they have the license to sin. The people who subscribe to that way of thinking, believe that because Grace is enough, they can sin and they are covered. They can do anything
they feel like doing and because of that God given Grace, they believe they can do no wrong. 

Woe to those who believe in that fashion, how mistaken they are! 

The Grace of God is indeed sufficient for us, but it doesn't give us the right to sin... period. When those with this attitude are approached concerning any offense, they become defensive and angry and they say things like "Don't judge me," "You have no right to judge me" or "Only God has a right to judge me"  They believe that they have the free rein to carry on with their sin, without ever having to answer for it, or stop it OR until God himself points it out to them. What they fail to understand is this...
No one, besides God, has the right to judge their salvation, but you can and should be judging their sin. 

I love the way the Message Bible explains this concept. 

A Simple Guide for Behavior

Matthew 7 1-5 “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.


Work It Out Between You

Matthew 18: 15-17 “If a fellow believer hurts you,
go and tell him—work it out between the two of you.
If he listens, you’ve made a friend. If he won’t listen, take one or two others along so that the presence of witnesses will keep things honest, and try again. If he still won’t listen, tell the church. If he won’t listen to the church, you’ll have to start all over from scratch, confront him with the need for repentance, and offer again God’s forgiving love.

It is sad that these scriptures can be so confusing. 
So confusing to some, that they chose to do what is comfortable and lazy instead of being convicted by them and trying to honor Him and do as He requests. 
Oh, that's right... we are only human! 
And being human means we all sin. 
However, being Christian means we help each other with that sin.
Being Christian means we all make mistakes, it's what we do about them that counts

We don't gossip (casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true) to others about what someone did to us that hurt us, instead we go directly to them. 
And we never, ever, ever tell anyone they will go to Hell for anything they do. No exceptions to that rule! Only God can judge our salvation! 

But we can and should kindly, gently, and with the most loving of intentions tell our brothers what they did that hurt us, or what they are doing to hurt themselves or someone they love. Can you imagine how many marriages and other relationships this would save if things were handled this way? 

AND if we are at the receiving end of this, we must always thank them and Praise God that our brother or sister cares enough about us to want us to be Holy.