Friday, April 12, 2013

Love or Judge

(c) Kathy Fannon, May 2009

The older I’ve gotten and the more I’ve experienced of life, I find that I’m not as judgmental as I used to be. Sometimes you find out some things the hard way and you learn to go a little easier on people, even if they are making poor choices.

“But God hates sin.”

Yes, He does.

But is it non-sin when we look down our nose at those who are struggling? Is it non-sin to be condescending? Is it non-sin to rejoice in the downfall of one who has a moment of weakness?

I was horrified when I read some of the comments, by Christians, in regards to the tragic suicide of Rick and Kay Warren’s son last week. (Read some of them here.)

Matthew had a mental illness, he didn't choose to have that sickness. Who makes a choice to have cancer or Parkinson’s or MS? And who makes a choice to have a mental illness?

So, do these people mean to say there aren't issues they struggle with? Are they telling us they’re perfect? Because I know they sin, too. We all do. That’s why we need Jesus.

Before we start pointing fingers at someone else’s sin, struggles, heart aches and heartbreaks, we better think long and hard about ourselves.
  • Where do I fail that God needs to help me with?
  • What sin issues do I face that I need to turn over to God’s grace?
  • What struggles do I have that may be the same, or different from, somebody else’s? 
Let judgment of me begin with me.

So how should we react to people who are struggling?

Love Them
When I was going through a tough time because of some choices I made, my friend said to me, “I only love you more.” She was a true friend. She didn’t judge or condemn, just only loved me, supported me and helped me to find the way out. She pointed out that she didn't know what she would do in the same situation, so how could she judge me? She just accepted me.

Accept Them
Some people struggle with on-going issues in their lives, maybe for years. Don’t push them away because they don’t fit into your picture of what a Christian should be. Accept them right where they are, because that is where growth happens.

Grow Them
People need a chance to grow up and out of their struggles. They need a mentor to show them the way, to pray with them, to encourage them.

Encourage Them
Everybody needs a cheerleader. Be a cheerleader. Praise them when you see them making the right choices, encourage them when you see them making the wrong choices. But them.

We, as humans, tend to see sin as “big sin” and “little sin”, but God calls sin, “sin”, no matter what it is. We all do it. We all need God’s grace.

By helping others grow in love, you will bless your pastor.

Read my previous post: Support Your Worship Leader

More Excellent Reading:
Sadness and Madness by Beth Moore