I heard a quote from somebody on you tube last summer that I’ve never heard said before. They said, “I never judge anybody.” Whether or not this was true, the audacity of a person to live with the conviction of never judging anybody was still admirable. It was like a thought that was too impossible to believe but upon hearing it was like a new air I wanted to keep breathing.
This may sound like an overly simple topic for Jesus himself said, “Do not judge.” Pretty straight forward. But for a human person other than Jesus himself to casually dialogue as if that reality was possible was entirely heavenly.
The world would play us on a string to have us do just the opposite. Compare, condemn, divide, get defensive, get offended, react, live in opposition and controversy. It is “cool” to be opinionated and not close minded. The idea of not judging is cool but is often in reality partial as it stands in harsh condemnation of very judgmental religious institutions, therefore nullifying their non-judging stance.
But to really, I mean really, have the perspective in life that you have never walked in anyone else’s shoes, you have never lived their life, felt what they’ve felt, and been forced to make the decisions they have, never, for anyone, other than yourself. Yet all of us undoubtable stand in judgment of some “other,” some “wrong” individuals in our perspective.
Here’s what this does: it only hurts ourselves. When we stand in judgment of someone, of some hatred of act or word, whether based on politics, crime, color, or creed, we are smothering our own nature that was created in God’s image to love. It suffocates our joy.
When we make snap judgments at news headlines and video clips we diminished our capacity for understanding and compassion. He deny our role in helping where there is possible hurting need. We remove ourselves from another’s humanity.
And what that does is deny the Christ that is living in every person. Whether you agree with someone or not, whether you would have theoretically made differently choices than they have, they are still a living, breathing creation of God. His life is breathing through them and he is experiencing life through what they experience, the good and the bad. Nothing nullifies the value Christ’s death and resurrection has given all of humanity. ALL OF HUMANITY. Especially our enemies, especially those different from us.
Do not hurt yourself, do not deny your true nature as an origin of love, by judging another, by condemning them, by withholding your grace. Do not suffocate the breathe of love that lives within you. If you try and not judge, I will not try to judge either. God bless.
So I want to share with you a journey I have had in the lasts few years. It began in a bad place. It really didn’t have to be that bad but there was one move I made that I will not make again.
People make mistakes. Maybe you never have. Maybe you have never made the wrong decision or never said something hurtful to anyone or said anything negative behind someone’s back. Maybe.
It all began when I made a series of mistakes. I concluded something and it was the wrong conclusion, which led to the wrong behaviors. I can’t change that and I’m okay with that now. But that’s not my point in this article, what I did that I will never do again, is turn my back on myself.
I have become very familiar with these thoughts inside our heads that will replay mistakes, or wrong words, or wrong conclusions. At first I believed them because I thought they were true. For example, I was wrong, therefore I should like myself less. This equation is not true in heaven.
I was wrong! And it really affected people. And I still have permission to love myself today! I thought I was worth being thought less of. In a way, I was punishing myself because I thought that’s what I deserved. I questioned myself and doubted my partnership with God. BUT did you know there are no mistakes in heaven?!?!
Did you know that maybe I was setup to experience this whole in my character so that God could build a new thing there?? Learning requires humility to not know something to begin with. All of these things are okay and never have to involve the self-destruction of shame, guilt, condemnation, or exclusion.
Did you know God still loves you and values you? He never thinks less of you based on this learning journey you are on?? Did you know he speaks of your value, your worth, and your ability to always brush yourself of and dive right back into life. SO….
In conclusion, you may be having other thoughts. Even small incremental thoughts that get you to like yourself just a little bit less, maybe even one percent. I don’t believe these thoughts anymore. None of them. For any conversation, presentation, appearance or decision. Not one percent less. They are not from heaven, and God will rebuild in your life, wherever you tear yourself down. I will not partner against his work any longer.
You and I walk with a breastplate of Christ’s righteousness on that doesn’t let any accusing arrows through. Not one. There is no hole in his righteousness, no gap, no interruption, or weakness. His righteousness is a perfect FREE GIFT that I have experienced more now than ever before. Do not make room for any thoughts about yourself that get you to like yourself even one percent less. They are not from Him.
As I was falling asleep last night my mind was writing this blog. ha! There are so many attributes of people I admire. Some of them fall into the below categories I wanted to highlight!
- Emotional Vulnerability
When people grow up, for various reasons, they stuff emotions, don’t express them, close themselves off, quit communicating, or letting themselves feel. Kid’s wear their emotions on their sleeves. I’m not saying that is maturity but kids don’t shut down their emotional experience, or close off sharing it, unless they feel unsafe. The ability to feel emotions is heavenly and these emotions aren’t composed of stress, anxiety, judgment, worry, depression, and guilt, which sometimes adults experience. There is a heavenliness in not fearing to feel good and sad emotions with the events of life, and not being afraid of sharing them or expressing them different healthy ways.
Kids may occasionally tell a lie to hide something but in general kids have no filter when it comes to truth-telling, sometimes to the embarrassment of their parents. This also is because they don’t have a preoccupation with creating/maintaining an image of themselves. They are just existing as they are and as the world comes to them. They say things as they see them, whether their perceptions are accurate or not, it is still their experience.
Children carry with them a sense of awe and wonder about the world. Things are new and no one has told them the way they have to see things yet. They see things from different perspectives and new angles and no one has told them what they can’t do or how they can’t use something. They ask questions and are teachable and listen to answers. They are okay with not knowing the answers and living in a world where they aren’t expected to have explanations for everything. They reflect on things and are open to new ideas.
4. Playfulness and Imagination
Kids are always ready to have fun. I so appreciate adults who laugh easily and recognize the power of joy. Seriousness is not a fruit of the Holy Spirit and the world doesn’t rest on any man’s shoulders but Jesus’. Someone’s ability to take themselves not so seriously is a sign of maturity in my eyes. Kids are ready to make any boring, regular task a play session and I think heaven involves much of this feeling. Fun loving flexibilty, adaptability, inclusion, and making life joyful in the simplest of perspectives and ways.
This was referred to in the honesty one above but more than that, kids aren’t preoccupied with what people think of them. It still hurts when they experience rejection but they don’t abandon or hide their true selves after these experiences. The only way they know how to be is themselves! They are unique and different from one another in all their original glory. Just because they are different doesn’t mean they are less in their own eyes. They are on their own special unique journey. There is an innocence, and strength in feeling valued solely based on our parent’s acceptance of us.
I wanted to write about this subject three weeks ago but am just getting around to it now. This subject is “unbiblical” to the conventional Christian. There is no life beyond church they would say. I have even heard people within the church call people who have left their church “bastards.” Yet here is where so many people find themselves. And so… I write.
I am not going to spend time here defending this topic, I am going to go right into writing about it. I remember asking God about his body, the church years ago which began a 15-year journey of seeing the ins and outs of church creation, growth, development, leadership, failure, hypocrisy, glory, strength, and blessing. If the church were a closet full of clothing, I have worn almost every outfit in different seasons where I felt God leading me through relationship with people.
And yet I find myself, and other people I both respect and would call people of great faith, outside of regular church participation at the moment. I will not group these people into people who are rebellious, hurt, bitter, or prideful. These are beautiful, servant-hearted, prayerful, joyful, faithful, creative children of God.
So why do we find ourselves here in this field of spirituality beyond where the paved road ends? Could there even be purpose in this? God of course lives within the walls of his church but I think he is also moving his body, his people beyond not only church walls, but Christian culture. There are so many people who carry the love of God and the ways of his kingdom into so many places; the home, business, arts, media, entertainment, education, etc.
Can I be a Christ follower without walking in American church culture and vocabulary? Of course I can. I hope we are sharing God’s culture, how he loves us and sees us, with people and nations. I’d like to make the argument that this can happen 100% outside of meetings and buildings set aside for this purpose. People can experience hearts and homes of heaven.
I don’t think there is necessarily a wrong reason that people have quit participating in a church regularly. I do think there is a fullness of God’s people operating as a kingdom of priests as he originally intended. His children have full union with the father.
Church family commitment is like marriage, you get involved because of what you have to give, what you have to offer, not what you have to get from it, or how they can serve you. Community is beautiful and I think this can be found outside of a church governing structure and weekly scheduled meetings. But…
What I’m seeing even more of is people who are very much on relative islands of preparation and intimacy right now. Little pockets of service and relationship more based solely out of energy spent on building/maintaining healthy family relationships. I do think it’s beautiful when the role of a mother and father are one and the same as the pastor and priest. That discipleship and family are one and the same with no definitive line between the love of God and the love of family.
Not being understood and being judged is a regular occurrence of life and I’m being reminded over and over again to not care what other people think. Especially people who care more about what my life looks like rather than wanting to hear my personal experience.
Being outside of a church structure doesn’t mean we quit learning about God as we live life with him.
I just wanted to write a bit of encouragement to those who find themselves in no man’s land. Or not operating in the fullness of their giftings at whatever church they find themselves in. You are not broken, you are not failing, and you have not been ‘taken out of ministry.’
God is so much bigger than our little religious mindsets of what freedom and spirituality look like. He grows things inside of us we don’t even know need growing and often times they have nothing to do with external appearances. Although God is in religious meetings every week, he is just as much at the dinner table, in the nursery of your house, at the grocery store, and in your office.
I love that the presence of the awareness of God is naturally felt at all hours in all places. Our existence is one with his. You are the church my friend, you couldn’t leave who you are. You are his temple and the only building he cares about. He’s never left the meeting of your life and God is not finished being in love with us wherever we are, whatever season we find ourselves in. Joy is in his house, in his bride, and in his family. Blessings to you, all the beautiful sons and daughters of God who find themselves in No Man’s Land.
I feel like there is power in sharing our stories and sometimes the best place to start is the beginning. Recently, I was given an opportunity to share how my relationship with God began and I thought I would share it here as well.
I went to church with my family sometimes and even learned stories from the bible as a child, but I went to church for years and never really remember hearing about Jesus or what he did for us or what he thought of us. I remember trying really hard to figure out when to stand and when to sit and how to make my voice go up or down with the music notes I didn’t know how to read in the hymnal.
Fast forward through my parent’s divorce, our moving to a new location, and lots of high school parties. At one point I was grounded because of driving lots of drunk people at like three in the morning when I was sixteen. I hadn’t been drinking. While I was grounded, my mother gave me a book, as she is an avid reader.
This book was fiction and written by a Christian. In this book, the author clearly explained how a certain character in the book was impacted by Christ and the holy spirit working in her life. I remember just saying “Yes” to God in my basement and feeling his presence fill the room and a conversation between us began that hasn’t stopped to this day. (You can read more about this subject here.)
God continues to help me. How to respond in my marriage, how to view the mistakes of my past, what decisions I should make concerning how I live my life. He is the peace within me, and his love is my breath. He continues to remind me of my value and my worth. I have fallen in love and he continues to show me how to love myself and love others. The end–or actually–just the beginning. 🙂
I usually come here with a message I want to share but today I just really wanted to come here and write without knowing what! There is an exhilaration in living life in the unknown and so a part of adding joy to my day is doing this!
I just want to write that the purpose of life is so much more than what we produce! Did you know you can have a perfectly wonderful day apart from being productive?? That the moment we leave this earth, all of our to do lists cease and everything we were intending to do never gets done and the earth still spins without us?? There are thousands of people around the world with no job or no career that wake up and exist, some with joy even, and are their lives not still full of value?!?
I would speculate that the purpose of our lives is to experience the exchange of love, either between us and people, or us and God, and hopefully both. And money, whether it is elusive or we have plenty, only fits into this equation of purpose when used as a tool to experience this LOVE?
We are even good at turning ministry into a work and can lose joy trying to make as many people possible experience this exchange of love! God’s calling never asked you to set aside your piece of experiencing heaven on earth for the sake of others; we share what we walk in, whether a worker mentality or a son or daughter of God mentality.
Did you know the fastest way to your eternal productivity is to rest in God’s orchestration and providence in your life and be faithful to the people he’s already placed around you in life?!? Did you know we are not supposed to pour out our soul for the sake of trying to make something happen that God can do so easily on his own and in his own timing?!?
There is grace and joy when heaven is behind the work of your hands, even when enduring hard or difficult obstacles, where there is nothing else you would rather be doing with your time and energy. Did you know that rest IS powerful? Did you know that trust IS productive?
No matter how hard Moses tried in the natural he could have NEVER liberated hundreds of thousands of his people from the Egyptian empire, but when God wanted it to happen, Moses participated but God did all the work? When we trust God for him to accomplish his ideas through us, it always is supernatural beyond our own abilities? Deliverance wasn’t even in Moses’ mind!
God’s ideas are the best for us to partner with and sometimes it requires a lack of our own understanding of the how or the why or the timing. This is great! You are not doing anything wrong, you are trusting for something bigger than your ability to orchestrate the outcome.
Trust and rest in God’s impossible! May you truly experience the awe of his manifest glory and presence and orchestration in your life. Peace and blessings!