As you drive your car, checking your rearview mirror is a wise habit for anyone navigating traffic. I’ve learned in my attitude, spirit, and actions, I too need to check my “rearview mirror”, to keep any judgmental, self-righteousness and my plain old attitude in check.
We all have the capability to point fingers and judge someone based on our own convictions. Usually, when I find myself wagging an accusing finger, I often discover that whatever wrong I’m pointing out in someone else’s eye, I eventually struggle with, in my own life or thoughts (speck-plank-eye, etc).
Here are three areas and corresponding ways in which I protect my soul from once again becoming that finger-pointing brat:
1.Is our acceptance of others based on their behavior/opinions/appearance?
Gay, liberal, evolutionist, punk rocker. These are some of the “four-letter words” that some have worked so hard to protect their church buildings from encountering. Admittedly, if I have initial conversations with gay or liberal folks about matters we disagree upon, I can be easily thrown into a debate or defensive mode. This aggressive attitude locks up my heart and keeps me from genuinely embracing and knowing them. Yet, if I prioritize getting to know the person first and foremost, and forming a relationship and connecting heart to heart with them, I discover a new friend who can challenge me rather than an individual’s differing opinions to defeat. (Photo below: Brian Welch – Korn: Amazing example of why it’s important not to judge others by their appearance!)
2. Women – God’s Amazing Creation
Growing up in church, scantily dressed women seemed to always be the bane of society. The lustful “second look,” could make or break a soul. Failure to “look away” meant a “rededication” for salvation was in order, but ultimately “Jezebel” was to blame! After fighting and failing the sexual thought-life sin battle for many years, I finally dragged myself, with all my dirt and failures to Jesus and let Him deal with my issues. Now, with more than a decade of complete freedom in this area, I still encounter the same issues… “the woman of the world”. So what about “Jezebel?” First off, that’s somebody’s daughter. So back off! Secondly, either media, fashion, ignorance, insecurity, fatherlessness or all the above have pushed that young lady to seek attention by dressing provocatively. Some of those elements everyone on this earth has struggled with, including you!
Thirdly, I guarantee if you got to know that young lady, you’d probably discover that she’s a sweet person. As a man, who regularly encounters young ladies in very revealing clothing at the shops, gym, etc. and some with attitudes akin to “come hither”, I have learned that apathy is not an option. Gravity dictates that we either move towards something or away from something. Apathy in this situation leads only to erosion. So then, we run! Or do we? Paul told Timothy to “flee youthful lusts” yet Jesus always ran towards the “sinner” and Jesus is our ultimate role model, NOT Paul. I can’t tell you what to do, only relate my personal experience… I neither run from a seductive woman nor do I ever let my guard down. If alone, I keep walking and NEVER get myself in a compromising situation, but I do one important action in response to her…I pray. And pray and pray some more, for this lost daughter, as a hurting sister or a little girl who needs the Father’s love more obviously than most, I pray that God will bring wise and loving women in her life so she can find lasting peace and joy.
Pray the opposite spirit! Whereas Paul is wise telling Timothy to run from youthful lusts, (which, by the way, means more than just sexual sin) Paul didn’t instruct leaving behind an emotional hand-grenade of hellfire judgment and name-calling. So don’t – or you will find yourself the one being judged by God! Or do you think you can cast the first stone?
3. Other Pharisees:
Oh, how the mighty have fallen! Isn’t that the attitude of so many when big-time fancy preachers get scandalized? Don’t know about you but a spirit of “serves you right for putting yourself on a pedal stool” tries to influence me whenever I see a famous individual fall. But that’s the problem right there. As a life long churchgoer, I’ve been taught that only certain labeled Christian are my kin. I’ve also been taught that if one of my kin falls, eat ’em! Kill, kill, kill! They were too weak to have ever been a “real” Christian.
However, the Bible is quite clear, if you believe in Lord Jesus Christ you will be saved. Hence, those who say, “I’m a Christian”, are our brothers or sisters. The “label” stuck to them is irrelevant. So the next time a big-time minister or anyone for that matter messes up or falls, ask yourself, are your words and attitudes those of a loving person? Someone extending mercy?
A few years ago I had a revelation! All people are made in the image of God! Also…it’s God’s will that none should perish, but all come to the saving knowledge of Him! So, I started treating everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation, political viewpoint, or religion the same – like family.
You see, since God’s desire is that all be a part of His family, I’ll treat everyone as if they already are a part of His family, that’s called living by faith. The result? I share the gospel almost five times more now than ever before.
I’m sure you’ve heard that 80% of what you say is not from your words. Well, people can sense if you are emotionally open or closed, and guess what kind of person we all feel more comfortable around? That’s right…individuals who are open emotionally!
Jesus’s message was clear when He pointed out the most hated man in town and said, “I’m going to your house today!” He can forgive “sinners” because they recognize they need help…but religious snobs refuse to be helped because they already “have it all figured out.”
I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather not have it “all figured out” and admit my need for help and in turn give others around me the “break” I too need.