An Honest Look at a Judgmental Spirit - Mine!
I see myself as a pretty accepting person. But the Spirit surfaced some places where I'm not so accepting - where I have a tendency to judge those who don't embrace what I consider appropriate for followers of Jesus. It exposed an ugly arrogance in me that is unattractive and ungracious.
My struggle is not in accepting folks whose lives are badly broken. Nor is it with followers of Jesus who are honest about their own brokenness. I respect those who engage their spiritual journey with humility and embrace others with hearts that look for the Spirit's work within them. Acceptance and compassion for these folks comes easy. Where it gets tough for me is with followers of Jesus who position themselves as guardians and critics rather than servants and learners. Such people can effectively stifle and suffocate the freshness the Spirit's movement. My heart is not drawn to such people. Candidly, I feel angry at the damage they create within the body of Christ. So I keep my distance. I can even justify my judgmental spirit with Biblical reminders that even Jesus was hard on such folks.
What struck me this week was how easy it is for me to become like those I judge. Paul captures the posture I must strive to embrace - "accept one another just as Christ has accepted you" (Romans 15:7). For me that means accepting those who are judgmental and critical of others. By giving them the gift of acceptance I remove any self-imposed distance in the relationship and display the grace I long for them to embrace. I may even gain the opportunity to speak into their lives, but my acceptance will replace the edginess of judgment with gentleness and allow my words to be received from a place of compassion, not criticism.
Fighting for Your Heart,
Reflections for your spiritual journey:
1. Take a few minutes this week to reflect upon Matthew 7:1-6 and Romans 15:7...ask the Spirit to identify where you may have a tendency to judge others.
2. As you think about an individual or group you have a tendency to judge. Can you identify why?
3. Confess the any judgmental spirit and ask Father to replace it with an accepting spirit.
4. This week look for an opportunity to display your acceptance in a very tangible way to the person you may have judged in the past.