Last week we talked about the Prison of Judging Others. Ugh, how ugly judgmentalism is. How much it hurts. I shared about a time when I was harshly and unfairly judged.
This week I share three guidelines I've gleaned about admonishing in a way your words will not only be received, but bring healing.
1. Love: Jesus was never harsh with struggling sinners. (He was brutal to the hard-hearted Pharisees.) He loved the weak FIRST. The person who judged me (see last week's post) had not earned the right to speak into my life. She hadn't established a baseline of love. Yet, when a we pour our life into others', loving them through hard and happy times,THEN a rebuke will be received, even welcomed.
2. Listen: I've discovered this one from my kids. I used to come down on them quickly. If I caught them doing something wrong, immediately I'd doll out the consequences. This created a wall between us, because I forgot a very important step. I didn't LISTEN first. Once I started listening, I realized I was judging them incorrectly on many occasions. It's so important to figure out what is really going on. To hear the reasons someone is doing something, before we jump to conclusions.
3. Learn: Having a chronic disease, I often worry that people think I'm a flake. Sometimes, even though I have the best intentions, I have to stop all productivity and lay down. It would be easy for someone to assume I'm irresponsible, even lazy, but if they take the time to learn about me, they will find I try very hard to be a responsible grown up. And since my disease is invisible, the "me" most people encounter doesn't seem ill at all. The person we're tempted to judge surely has struggles we don't know about. We must not jump to negative conclusions, but instead assume something's going on we don't know about, and give grace.
Can we do this, friends? How different the world would be if we loved instead of judged. How different our churches would be.
Rest in Jesus, friends. He doesn't judge you, but paid a very high price for you to not be condemned. Ever!
Remember, he loves you like there's no tomorrow.