Today, I got called out by a friend.
We were having a discussion and I found myself making a judgmental pronouncement about a mutal acquaintance. It wasn’t mean and it wasn’t rude, but it was completely unnecessary and I had no business saying it.
I am grateful that my friend (gently) called me on it, which resulted in me asking for her forgiveness. The second I left and began to drive home, I asked the Lord to forgive me as well. I felt terrible and slightly ill. I know how awful it feels to be judged; yet I was willing to do that to someone else. And I know better!
When I got home, I turned on my computer with the intention of continuing to write a draft I had begun earlier. It was a “pretty” post with a good, edifying message. It would have been a perfectly fine message to post tomorrow. However, try as I might, I could not make any progress on it.
I realized I had a choice to make: Am I going to be real on this blog or am I going to paint myself in the best possible light and not admit to messing up?
I have no interest in wearing a mask here; I have learned in real life how futile that is. Nobody has it all together and to pretend differently is a waste of time and helps no one.
So, this post may not be pretty, but it will be real. 🙂
We have no way of knowing the real truth about a person’s life, but it is so tempting sometimes to think that we do. We observe what we can see and think we have all the answers. We may feel somewhat smug, imagining how we would handle the situation. How many times have I said to myself, “Well, if that was me, I would…blah, blah, blah.”
This is exactly the opposite attitude that Jesus calls me to exhibit. He expects me to be merciful: “Be merciful (sympathetic, tender, responsive and compassionate), even as your Father is all these.” –Jesus (Luke 6:36).
I cannot possibly be merciful unless I continually remember how merciful Jesus has been to me.
Our former pastor in Florida always used to say, “Preach the Gospel to yourself every day.”
Why is that so important? Because I can never forget that in His mercy, He came to me because I had no way of going to Him. He willingly took my sins upon Himself so that I could be free. I can never forget that I owed a debt I could never pay and Jesus paid it for me. He forgave me…how can I then turn around and not show mercy to others when I have been shown such shocking and lavish mercy?
When I made that thoughtless comment this afternoon, I was temporarily forgetting the Gospel.
I was conveniently overlooking Jesus’ very clear command: “Do not judge and criticize and condemn others so that you may not be judged and criticized and condemned yourselves.” — Matthew 7:1
There it is, plain and simple.
I am so grateful that I have a Savior who is always waiting with open arms when I come to Him in repentance and willingly and joyfully grants it. He is the Author of fresh starts and second chances. His mercies are new every morning: “…His compassion never ends. It is only the Lord’s mercies that have kept us from complete destruction. Great is His faithfulness; His lovingkindness begins afresh each day.” — Lamentations 3: 22-23.
As the saying goes, everybody is fighting some kind of battle. This life can be so harsh on all of us. I do not want to make this world an uglier place with a proud and judgmental heart, so I will continue to ask Jesus to give me His eyes of compassion and mercy for everyone I see. I will ask Him to put a guard on my mouth so that I will speak only what is edifying to others. I will meditate on Jesus’ definition of love as found in I Corinthians 13:4-8: “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”
That says it all.
Be kind today. 🙂