This brings me to the story of the woman who allegedly committed suicide over issues bordering around infidelity. Although the storyline has changed, people’s reaction was overwhelming. This woman as it were, was ‘caught in the very act’, and the internet showed no mercy. In fact, many people insinuated that she got what she deserved. It’s amazing how we cry to God for mercy over our situations yet we are ready to tear others apart over their sin. I am not condoning her actions, but nobody knew what drove her to it, and the circumstances around the suicide. For someone to get to the stage where they take their own life, they must have gone through a lot of self-condemnation and self-hatred. We must desist from sharing information and spreading pictures and stories of people’s personal lives, no matter how juicy they may appear to be. There is an adage that say rumors stop spreading when it hits a wise man’s ears. Let’s be kind. Spread the prayers. Spread kind words and affirmation, spread the intercession, and spread the love.
Jesus made a very profound statement- 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 is 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 face is distorted by contempt? ….playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part (Matt 7: 1-5 the Message translation)
I used to be a very judgmental person. While I was not verbally judgmental in most cases, I was very impatient with people who didn’t live up to my standards of intelligence and agility. I just felt they had a problem and there was no excuse for them to be slow or not think or act as quickly as I could. I also used to feel that if some things were happening to you or not happening, it’s your fault. There was no excuse to fail in life. Until life happened to me. I went through a few trials that were beyond my control, and it taught me to wait on the Lord, and be humble. When you’ve been through some things you begin to see situations and people differently. You begin to put yourself in their shoes and wonder what you would have truly done in the same situation, and you realize that but for the grace of God, there go I… You may have not made a better decision. That, my dear friend is what is called compassion.
I have come to the conclusion that there is a very thin line between being discerning and being judgmental. When you are discerning you are not too quick to jump into conclusions and correct. When you are being judgmental you are quick to correct- loudly and publicly. One key difference between judging others and being discerning is that when you judge others, you are so intent on ’removing the speck’ that you don’t consider your own faults, or your vulnerability to the same faults and sins. Just because your sins are different doesn’t make it better. God sees us all the same way. You are so busy trying to correct someone that you fail to see your own shortcomings, and you also fail to be corrected. In fact you tend to take offence or be defensive when you are being corrected.
While many of us don’t openly display our contempt for people, it shows by the way we correct them and speak to them. People do wrong, they commit sin and they need to be corrected. But the correction must come from a place of humility, bearing in mind that just because your sin is different does not make it better.
Does that mean we shouldn’t correct people when they are wrong? No. In fact it is our responsibility to correct people, and to discipline them if need be, but it must always make the person better and not worse. We must always speak the truth in love. Don’t shame people publicly, but speak the truth privately, and keep the dignity of the person intact. I believe the Bible has given us guidelines on how to go about that.
Jesus never condoned sin, or any sinful act. His position was very clear on that. He never shied away from the consequences of sin as well. But He was also never quick to condemn the sinner. He always looked for the motive behind the action. He looked beyond the action to discern the motive. He dealt with the sinner in such a way that the sinner never went back to the sin.
Before you cast that stone, think. And think hard. Is that how you would want to be corrected? What do you want to get out of this? Where are you judging from? Is it from a position of superiority and contempt (it can NEVER happen to me) or of mercy? If the roles were reversed how you would like to be judged?
Judge not that ye will not be judged. How you judge people is how God will judge you. The yardstick of measurement is what you’ll also be used to be judged. This is a tall order for all of us, as we all tend to be judgmental from time to time. No one can fully say they are home and dry. It is something that all have to constantly be mindful of for the rest of our lives.
May the Lord help us to obey the voice of our conscience, as it will readily speak to us when we slip. God is faithful.