O LORD, how my adversaries have increased!
Many are rising up against me.
Many are saying of my soul,
“There is no deliverance for him in God.”
“But you, O Lord, are a shield about me,
My glory, and the One who lifts my head.
I was crying to the LORD with my voice,
And He answered me from His holy mountain.
I lay down and slept
I awoke, for the LORD sustains me.
I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people
Who have set themselves against me round about.
Why is it so easy to judge others? Is it human nature or human depravity that causes us to assess their spiritual status, their material status, and the caliber of their character? Is it a learned behavior? Is it a coping mechanism for our own insecurities? Is it a reference point for establishing our own boundaries? Is it required of us to some degree in our responsibilities as Christians to be discerning? These are all thought provoking questions that deserve reasonable answers. I have been on both sides for more years than I care to admit. Subjected to judgment within my own family, my participation in returning the same behavior supports the concept of it being a learned behavior. This is by no means meant to place blame on those before me or to justify my participation. It is merely an exploration of who I have been and who I dare to become. I actually despise this about myself. This constant internal assessment of other people’s issues, as if my soul is a wealth of health, is comical at best.
Recently the three headed dragon of dysfunction raised it’s head again between my siblings, only this time it included me. At one of the lowest points in my life, I now faced betrayal, judgment and extreme aloneness in the sadness it brought. So much so, I found myself waking from mid sleep crying and wishing my “daddy” were still alive. He had gone home to be with Jesus just three short months prior and my heart remained broken from his absence. I just needed to experience his unconditional love and hear his sweet voice tell me he loved me one more time. “Daddy” was my father-n-law on this side of heaven and other than Jesus there is no purer love that I have ever known. The next day I said to my spouse, “Am I delusional to think I am the only “normal” sibling? As I shared thoughts regarding my siblings, I asked him, “What does that make me?” Without hesitation he responded, “Well, they say you’re the self-righteous, judgmental one.” While laughing on the outside, my soul was screaming, “Ouch!”. I think we need to change the phrase, “out of the mouth of babes” to “out of the mouth of spouses”. It was painful to hear but more true than I care to admit. And since I am famous for preaching from the “accountability” soap box, it was my turn to sit before it in deep reflection. This was not the transformation I was aiming for when I gave my heart to Jesus. God is not glorified when others walk away feeling anything less than the glory He has for them because of my words, attitudes or behaviors. Since the greatest of God’s commands is to “Love God and love others” then this is the standard by which I must measure myself. It is what I will fight for when the forces of this world tell me to behave differently. It is one of the battles I will contend with for all the days of my life; The battle between the contamination of assessment and the purity of God’s love.
How then do we establish healthy boundaries without assessing the unhealthy? What about our responsibility as Christians to be discerning? How do we break generational yokes without appearing to justify self-righteousness? How do we overcome the shame of past failures in our witness and proceed on to our destined glory?
“But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the One who lifts my head. I was crying to the LORD with my voice, and He answered me from His holy mountain. I lay down and slept. I awoke, for the LORD sustains me. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, who have set themselves against me round about.
God is with us in our failure just as much as He is with us in our success. God was with us in our past just as much as He will be with us in our future. God is in us just as much as He is around us. He is the One who moves us forward when others say our behaviors make us unworthy to press on. He is the One who has drawn our boundary lines in pleasant places when others don’t understand the difference in our landscape. He is the one who lifts our head when others assess the worthiness of our soul.
Has any of this evoked something within you that you had not been able to articulate until now?
Scripture Memory: Isaiah 43:18-19
Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. “Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.
Soul Searching Reflection:
How are you assessing the people in your life?
Are your assessments from Godly discernment or a state of depravity?
How have you been impacted by other’s assessment of you?
How has this impacted your ability to move forward in God’s plan for you?
Before today, were you aware of the battle? How will you arm yourself for victory in the coming days?
What is God challenging you to become for His glory?
What behaviors or things in your past do you need to let go of?
What has the Holy Spirit revealed to you today?
How does this revelation impact the condition of your soul?
What soul searching changes is God asking you to make this week?