So, you think you know her?

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Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. 1 Corinthians 13:12 NLT

‘Ouch!’ her bracing remark pierced a wound I thought had healed.

I focused mostly on my hurt feelings that first day or two as I mulled over her words and what had prompted them.

Eventually, I saw them as part of a pattern in our past interactions.  From there, it was easy to conclude that her particular childhood environment and behaviors she had absorbed from family members had made her like this.  And so, I viewed my ‘analysis’ as conclusive.

Fast forward a couple of weeks.  God graciously brought new information from a different source. I learned about some of the pressures she’d been under. Compassion welled up in my heart.  How would I feel carrying around all ‘that’ on top of regular responsibilities?

Then just to make sure I didn’t let that perspective fade, God made sure to affirm it with Paul’s truth I read the other morning in his first letter to the Corinthians.

The fact is, I tend to judge people’s actions and assign them motives that I make up.  I know I’m probably wrong most of the time.

For example, a couple of months ago while shopping at Kroger I judged a man to be a thief.  His little child was eating a banana. I then saw him THROW AWAY the peel, right there in the produce section.  ‘Come on, Dad, that’s pure theft!  And what kind of example are you setting for your son?’

A few minutes later I rounded an aisle and saw a big Kroger sign offering free fruit to children as part as their corporate commitment to helping teach little ones good health habits. 

Humility and embarrassment set in.  So glad I didn’t open my mouth to that dad!

We NEVER know the complete story about someone.  Besides, who are we to judge their hearts?  Who are we even to assume we have the entire story?

As Oswald Chambers says – Stop having a measuring stick for other people. There is always at least one more fact, which we know nothing about, in every person’s situation. The first thing God does is to give us a thorough spiritual cleaning. After that, there is no possibility of pride remaining in us.”

Measuring others based on which standards?

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My husband and I were discussing different character attributes of people the other day.  I realize that I am fairly judgmental about people (I know that comes as a surprise to you!), but what was a new thought to me was the question of which standard I use.

I realized that I measure others based on the metric of MY strengths and what’s important to me.

Let’s imagine that maintaining a super clean house was high on my list. (it’s not)

So according to my theory – I would evaluate others on how well they achieve the standard that comes easily or naturally to me.

Do you see how ‘playing this game’ makes me a winner each time and feeds my judgmentalism?

But what if OTHERS take THEIR strengths and use them as a grid for seeing how well I do?  Ouch!!!

And what if I am not even AWARE that I’m being evaluated? After all, do all my ‘judgees’ know how they rate on Maria’s scale?

This was a new thought – and a disturbing one. I realize that in every movie I spin,  I’m  the ‘STAR’, the hero/the good guy  in my movie about myself.

What are some external behavioral ways people might judge their fellow man or woman made in God’s image?  Off the top of my head, I thought of possible standards one might ‘secretly’ impose on others:

  • how they dress or fix their hair; whether they keep nails manicured
  • how their children behave or achieve academically
  • type of schooling they choose for their children
  • how generous they are with their time or wealth with friends and ‘strangers’
  • degree of community involvement
  • type of meals served at home, if any
  • how hospitable they are
  • skill in driving
  • whether ‘writing thank-you notes’ is part of their normal behavior
  • how they keep in shape physically
  • ambitiousness at work; degree to which one seeks out leadership roles or responsibility
  • responsiveness to emails and phone messages
  • quality of gift-giving/ability to remember birthdays
  • degree a person talks ONLY about himself v. interest in the other
  • how well-read they are;  quality of books they read
  • whether they do family devotions with the kids
  • whether they go ‘back’ for the Sunday evening service or attend a mid-week small group/Bible study
  • whether they watch TV or read
  • how grammatically correct one speaks
  • degree to which someone initiates invitations to others
  • how tech-dependent or tech-free
  • how ‘good with kids/animals’ they are
  • do they make their beds? (half the world doesn’t per my informal polls of students in French class)
  • whether a stay-at-home mom ‘just’ takes care of the kids OR runs a small business from home

I’m sure you can add to the list.  But the point is….. what are we to do?

You’ve heard it says that God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. (1 Pet 5:5)

I, for one, do NOT want the God of the universe, the living and very present God to oppose me!  All I or you can do is CONFESS, REPENT and beg for help from the One who promises to give us a way out when we are tempted.

1 Cor 10:13  The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

Of course, the KEY is – the DESIRE to drop the judging.(judging can be FUN!) …So that’s what we should ask God for.

Question:  True confessions, if you dare….. – Where do YOU feel superior in your life?

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