The other day I was in the car with a friend, and we were talking about this one preacher who if I said the name, most of us would know him. They mentioned how he usually preaches on the same topic and me being the way that I am, I quickly commented back and was like, “Well, a lot of traveling speakers have their niché and kind of their thing that they speak on. Ya know?”
They took a deep sigh and said in the most loving way, “You know what I’ve learned about you? You love defending people.”
Six years ago, I allowed my life to be turned around for the better and I started really following Jesus. Before that, I was mean. I was strung out. I was judgmental. I was careless. And I was broken. But in these six years of coming to know a God who only knows love, one of the biggest things I have learned is that I can’t put my judgement on how other people should act. Now, before anyone comes at this with an overly religious point of view, finish reading this blog.
Some people say some really stupid things. Some people act out in foolishness. Some people can never acknowledge their wrongs. Some people come off self-absorbed. Some people are loud. Some people are flat out mean! Some people may not always lift their hands in worship. Some people aren’t the same people off social media. Some people don’t act in the way that we think that they should. Some people don’t talk the way we think they should. Some people don’t live the way we think they should. I know. I’ve seen it. And you’ve seen it, too.
But here are five points I believe every person, Christian or not, should read and take to heart.
1) We don’t always know the backstory.
Sometimes, people have been cruel to them and without recognizing it, they take that cruelness and treat others the same way. Sometimes, people are mean because really, they are afraid. Sometimes, people are loud because they are insecure. Sometimes, people are quiet because they are calloused. Sometimes, out of defense, people first choose to be domineering to others before others can be that to them. Sometimes, people are human. Someone once said that our actions will always be what the world sees, but people who choose to see through God’s eyes will always have the compassion to understand why.
How about we stop gossiping about people who haven’t told us their story. Stop gossiping about people in general. I don’t care what someone has done to you, or what someone has done to someone you know. It is not our JOB to create our own analysis on a person. But it is our PURPOSE to love people so well that it has to point them towards wholeness. And it is our choice to choose to see people through God’s eyes and have the compassion to understand why.
2) Am I saying what I am saying because I genuinely care or… because I am inwardly struggling with insecurity or pride?
Why are you about to say what you’re about to say? That’s something I always try and ask myself before speaking about someone or before stating my opinion. If we feel this never-ending urge to ALWAYS be correcting people and to always be pointing something out about them that isn’t right, I think we may be battling with a little bit of pride and honestly a little bit of ignorance as of what our role is as a Christian. Do I care about this person who I am putting my judgement on? Or am I trying to make myself look better? Is this person living the life I want but don’t have, so if I find things to tear down it makes me feel better? A confident person with a pure heart won’t have the empty feeling of needing to talk down or talk about someone.
3) Do I care about who is right or do I care about what is right?
Even if what you are saying is true. Is it right? Just because something is true does not mean it is right. This is where we get to decide what we value. This is where we get to unveil the condition of heart. Are we more obsessed with being right than we are with acting right? What you are wanting to say may be right, but how you go about it will be what makes it right. Talk UP to the Father. Don’t talk OUT to your peers who are just as human and naturally judgmental as you are. He can do a lot more with our prayers than what people can do with our opinions.
4) Hurt will never be an excuse to shame.
Jesus was three in one with the Holy Spirit and God, but he was still a human on this Earth. He still felt emotion, and he still had feelings. Jesus knowing that one of his own disciples were going to betray him had to hurt his heart. That night at the table when he informed everyone that someone was going to turn away, he could have announced who it was out of hurt. Jesus could have thrown Judas under the bus. Jesus could have shared with everyone how wrong Judas was and go into detail with the wrongdoing he was going to act upon.
Jesus could have told everybody that Judas was the traitor. But instead, Jesus loved him and protected the hearts of those Judas would encounter by not saying anything ill of Judas. Because Jesus knew it wasn’t his job to inform others of someone’s fallout. Jesus knew it wasn’t in Father’s character to exploit or put to shame. Jesus knew that his Father was a Father of peace and holiness. Jesus knew that it was his job to love, not his job to condemn.
5) What example am I setting for those watching me or listening to me?
This is such an honor. Whether you want it or not, there are people watching you. There are people watching how you respond. Listening to how you speak about others. Listening to your words that are life-giving or demeaning. There are people watching the way you live your life and watching the way you represent this Jesus person. And the only person who gets to decide what they see and what they hear, is you. Let’s choose wisely.
I do not support cruel or immature behavior. I will not applaud the person who tears someone else down. I will not praise the one who seems to only care about themselves. I will not encourage people to look up to the person who can’t admit their wrongs. But I will look at each individual and put my efforts into understanding why they are the way they are. I will sympathize and try to understand who hurt them or who wasn’t there for them which resulted in why they are the way they are. I will actively and intentionally have eyes of compassion and grace. I will not put my judgement on how I believe someone should be. But I will ask the Lord to convict my heart on ever thinking that it was place to judge in the first place.