One of the reasons I write about the things I do, is not to condemn anyone. Rather it is because I have been guilty of all that stuff and as Jesus leads me deeper into his freedom, I am starting to see how self-defeating all that stuff is. The problem is that we do it with the best motives, and those motives can’t be judged as wrong, they are in fact very honourable, however that doesn’t stop the self-defeating cycle we get stuck in.
Last week I wrote about how we engage in self-defeating practices regarding unity. This week I would like to explore the issue of judging others. So here’s how it works for me:
I know what I should do to be a “good Christian” things like reading the bible, praying all the time, believing God for break-through, evangelising, making disciples, making leaders, fasting etc. So I start to do those things. I get really intentional about it. I can schedule times of the days when I do these things, I get an accountability partner and volunteer for different ministry opportunities. Everything is going great, but before I even know it something starts to happen. I look around at what other Christians are doing, or more precisely, what they aren’t doing and I judge them.
I judge because it is hard to do all those things, I would rather be in the shopping mall, than outside in the parking lot trying to convince someone they need Jesus. I judge them because I am doing a far better job than they are, and I feel good about myself. I judge them because it’s unfair that they are at the beach with family or friends having an ice-cream, while I fast and sit in my prayer closet praying for the Muslims to see the light of Jesus. Then when my fridge, microwave and car radiator all break in the same month I turn to God and say: “Give me a break, I thought we were on the same side!” To top it all off, if you are a leader in your local “church” then you can’t acknowledge any of the stuff above because you need to be an example to the people in the congregation. At this point you are probably angry with me or feel a little sad for me, and to be honest I probably deserve it 😉
For many years that was my christian experience. I was stuck because the initial motive was good, those activities themselves are good too, so where was it all going so wrong?
To understand my point of view you need to know that I see everything including the christian religion as coming from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Many of the things I have described would fall under the “good” category of that tree. Also I see Jesus on the cross as humanity’s second chance at the Tree of Life and everything he did and invites us into is from that tree.
One of the things that I have found extremely freeing is to honestly acknowledge what Jesus is doing and producing in my life each day and being open enough to say another Yes to him. When I live like this, letting Jesus life inside me inspire me to certain activites, I am no longer doing them to get God, I am doing them because I already have him.
You see all the “spiritual growth” I experienced in the past was, if I am honest, due to my own effort and the fruit of it was that I became judgemental. Now as I say Yes to Jesus in the small inner promptings, I have experienced far more spiritual growth and all I can acknowledge is that it wasn’t me. This has created a far more restful posture in my relationship with God. At the moment this area of my own judgmentalism is something He has been working on in me.
I think it is sad that we make christianity about doing the right things instead of the wrong things. I believe the only way we can change is if we experience our life from a different source and then respond to that life, instead of trying to meet benchmarks, expectations and obligations.
Would love to hear your stories or thoughts