* Please note this is a series – if you are new here, first of all, thank you for visiting us. You are always welcome. Secondly, should you want to read this series from the beginning or pick and choose by topic, click the “Stinkin’ Thinkin’ Makeover” tab under the header above.
I’ve discovered the relatively new Bible translation “The Voice”…Do you know of it? Let me tell you…it’s good stuff.
Reading a passage in “The Voice” and cross-checking it with my NIV study Bible has opened new doors in my spiritual soul. I’m making connections that I haven’t made before and personalizing scripture in an entirely new way.
And so as I’ve been reading the book of Matthew as of late, I’m intrigued by Jesus’ frustration with the Pharisees.
To give us some background here, the Jewish faith was divided into three societies at the time of the New Testament: the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Essenes.
Like many I know who tend to be vocally judgmental, the Pharisees began with good intentions and a heart for the Lord.
But somewhere along the way, they took their eyes off of Him and began to get a little too hung-up on the rules.
Right after they criticized Jesus for allowing His disciples to eat grains of wheat from a wheat field on the Sabbath, Jesus traveled to a local synagogue and there found a man with a shriveled hand. Matthew 12:10 continues with “Looking for a reason to bring charges against Jesus, they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath. Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other. But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus.”
In other words, the Pharisees were so hung-up on the “rules” that they lost sight of humanity. They forgot there were wounded hearts behind the flesh of those right in their very own community and instead cared more about the fact that Jesus was healing on a day that was to be kept sacred for rest.
Presently, in this age of iPhones and Skype and laptops and Google, we are still affected by those who think like a Pharisee. Scarily enough, as much as we don’t like to face this ugly truth, we ourselves are sometimes the Pharisee.
Being judgmental is a detriment to the inner workings of our minds.
It’s true there are some who are outwardly judgmental. They hate homosexuals and vocally and righteously speak-out against them. They oppose abortion so loudly that they silence the 50% of us who have made this choice and lead us to a silencing shame that dissuades us from bringing it to the light so Jesus can work on it and minister to others. The ugliest of all cases of judgement is the Westboro Baptist Church based in Topeka, Kansas – a church now considered a “hate group” because of their irrational thoughts against, well, almost anyone who has ever sinned. In researching for this post, I was physically sickened by the images and the content on their website (so much so that I refuse to include the link in this post).
This is absolutely not of God.
But then there are others who are little more subtle about their judgements and the “others” are really all of us. We see an overweight person and begin to assess their health choices. We lock our doors in a predominantly minority neighborhood. We analyze the decisions others make against how WE would do it and what WE would have said.
And guess what? These judgements, they stink up our thoughts. They create a thinking pattern that eventually becomes who we are.
Scarily enough, I would also venture to say that most of the members of the Westboro Baptist Hate Group started this same way but instead of trying to fight their subtle judgements, they found others who would add fuel and ignite them even more.
On praying through this series recently, it occurred to me that I should be including the antidote and a prayer to help us tackle each stinky thought. This will be released in an eBook format later this fall (each post will include these) but I’m going to start today on this one.
So if having a judgmental mind is stinking up your thoughts, seek scriptures on being judgmental and put them where they can be seen often and pray, pray, pray.
Father God, I pray against the thoughts of judgment and hate that are creeping into my mind and stinking up my thoughts. These thoughts are causing me to be unable to do your second greatest commandment – loving my neighbor as myself. I pray you will replace my thoughts of judgment and hate with those of acceptance and love. I pray that you will encourage me to pray for them every time I begin to say or think something judgmental about someone else so my mind will be re-programmed and I will be more like your Son. I know this can be done because I can do all things through you who strengthens me. Amen.
What about you? Have you struggled with judgment in the past or present? What do you do to help you NOT be judgmental of others?