I wonder if it would be judgment?
We live in a society so conditioned to judge that we rarely notice when we are doing it:
She’s too heavy.
Why’d she style her hair like that?
That’s a horrible color on her.
I can’t believe she’d wear something that tight.
Why can’t she grow up?!
We constantly compare our behavior to theirs. Our kids to theirs. Our parenting to theirs. And we either come out on top…or we crumple to the bottom.
The bottom is bad because we feel the shame of our lack.
So to avoid that pain, we criticize. Elevating ourselves above others’ lack so we don’t see our own.
“Do not judge lest you be judged.” (Matt. 7:1)
There are several layers to that verse. Unfortunately, I’ve learned them first hand. When we judge others, we open a door into the kingdom of darkness. That kingdom manifests in several destructive ways:
By judging others, we invite the judgment of others.
It’s the principle of sowing and reaping (Gal. 6:7). When we judge—–whether in our own minds or with our voice—–we are guaranteed to be judged in return. It is unavoidable. Our choice to release judgment against others ensures that we will end up on the receiving end.
The second layer is when we judge others, we become our own harshest critic. By the standard we judge others, we measure ourselves.
Why, you ask? Because it’s one thing to deal with the criticalness that comes at us, but it’s even more painful when it wells up inside, feeling like horrible and certain truth. We can deflect others’ criticism, but how do we defend against the voice that is our own?
The judge on the inside wields tremendous power over our ability to like and accept ourselves.
Self-hatred is rampant in our society. How many of us can look in the mirror and genuinely feel pleasure in who is staring back?
Again, painful to face.
This is the enemy’s plan against us. To gut us from the inside. And he gains access when we allow comparison and judgments to cloud our vision of others. And when we don’t recognize that the thoughts we are hearing and agreeing with inside our head have been planted there as lies from the enemy.
God loves the unlovely. He adores the less than perfect.
He wants to give us an upgrade (to use Graham Cooke’s verbiage). He wants to elevate our thinking and change the way we perceive ourselves and others.
He wants us to see ourselves as He does. Each one of us infinitely loved and desired by our Creator.
You may feel self-loathing when you look in the mirror, but God sees someone He adores.
We CAN live differently. We can offer acceptance to our imperfect selves and others. We can go on a hunt for the crazy love that God wants to fill us with and spill over onto the unloved and lonely around us.
Will you let Him give you an upgrade?
Father God, will you forgive me for continually judging myself and others? Will you help me to catch myself when I’m opening the door to a judgmental and critical spirit? When I’m agreeing to thoughts of comparison and self-righteousness? When I allow the enemy to influence me through the mouths of others? Help me to have the strength to change the subject and walk away from the temptation to join in. And fill me. Fill the empty places where negative comparisons have been a trap for me. Where I’ve elevated myself by putting others down. And the places where I harbor self-loathing. I forgive myself for judging and criticizing myself and others. Wash me and cleanse me and make me whole. Give me a vision of myself through Your eyes. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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