Every one of us has a friend or a family member with quirks that drive us crazy in one way or another. Likewise, each one of us probably has quirks that drives other people crazy, too. Some are just more pronounced than others.
Sometimes other people’s behavior, appearance, volume of their voice, or topic of conversation is a source of tremendous embarrassment in public. We take it upon ourselves as if it is our responsibility to compensate for the other person’s offences. When we see someone cringe or hear a snide comment that is made toward a person that is near us, we personalize it. It embarrasses us.
I caught myself in that situation recently. It bothered me that the individual had drawn such negative attention. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. I am responsible for me. PERIOD. I can’t help what someone else says, how they act, how they look, or how they behave.
All of us are guilty of wanting other people to be more like we are. We want our values and ideals to prevail. We are far more comfortable with people who are more similar to ourselves.
I wasn’t put here to try to make other people just like me. I wasn’t put here to be responsible for how other people act. God will sort out all of the foolishness of our own life other people’s lives. I am accountable for me. My job is to love as Christ would love.
That love is not a pass for “anything goes.” It is not an excuse for other people’s bad behavior. It does not let me off the hook to stand for what is right, and holy, and good. It doesn’t mean that I can let my guard down or lower my personal standards to accommodate anyone else.
The hardest thing is to do all of that, and still be able to love people who are very different than me. I should be more concerned about the state of their soul than any other thing they do that may seem ridiculous to me. Sin is sin. There is no way around that, but the Holy Spirit of God will do a far better job of convicting people of their sin than I will. If I point out something going on in another person’s life that is sinful, harmful, or detrimental, they will defend it with the lame excuse that I’m being judgmental and blow it off. If the Holy Spirit convicts them, they will be having their argument with God and that is a whole different thing.
The Bible has a lot to say about judging others.
Romans 2:1 (NIV) says, “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.”
We have plenty of work to do in keeping our own hearts right, guarding our own comments, and living rightly in the eyes of God.
Matthew 7:1 is pretty plain. “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”
Romans 14:13 puts it like this, “Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.”
According to God’s word, there is no sin that gets a free pass from God. “A person may think their own ways are right, but the Lord weighs the heart.”
Matthew 12:36 puts it all in perspective, “But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.” This verse accounts for the person who has behaved badly, or has active sin in their life, the person who has judged them, and the person who has spoken condemnation on that person.
God is equipped in a way far superior than any of us to sort it all out.
Let us speak the truth in love, always. Let us not condone sin that is so obvious in another person’s life and contrary to our own beliefs or what we believe God has to say about the situation. Let us not partake in what we know is wrong. Let us guard our own hearts, guard our own comments about other people, and trust God to sort out in our life or in other persons’ lives those things that needs to be dealt with.
Reach Judith Victoria Hensley at [email protected] or on Facebook. Check out her blog: One Step Beyond the Door.