Posted by: mikenicholsblog | January 19, 2014

specks and logs

“With friends like that, who needs enemies?!” is a reality that everyone has experienced. We have all felt the pain of a friend betraying our confidence, and sadly have harmed the trust that others needed from us. Often relationships are damaged because of our judgmental attitudes. Have you ever noticed how easy it is to zero in on the faults of others, while avoiding similar issues in our own life? Whether I venture back to the Old Testament book of Job, or land on the words of Jesus, it is easy to understand the wickedness of judging others.

You have no doubt heard of how the friends of Job became his “judges.” They personified the phrase above. Job went through pain that was beyond imagination. In Satan’s attack, he lost his children, his possessions and his reputation. When three old friends heard the news, they came to his side.  But too soon, care turned to judgment. I am sad to say that although I want to condemn his friends, there have been times that I too became a “judge.”  What about you?

One of Job’s friends was Eliphaz. You’ve probably never compared your life to his. But Eliphaz is an example to all of us, of what not to do in the godly friend department. His “being there” for Job eventually became judgment. This is admittedly a strong illustration of judging someone, but my burden is, the art of judging has become a normal part of living … maybe as normal as breathing!  God’s heart is that we love one another and not judge.  Eliphaz, and Job’s other friends took an amazing opportunity to care, and turned it into short-sighted explanations.

Let me share how easy I can become Eliphaz, instead of a giver of grace. One day as I sat religiously in church, I saw a young woman looking at her cell phone. My first thought was, “I can’t believe she is doing that,” but then I saw her actively engaged in worship. I wonder how many times I have been distracted by my cell phone. Because of background and culture, I can easily make wrong judgments. I have seen someone who was not like me, and made quick character assessments. God looks on the heart. When I reflect on how Jesus lived, I am reminded that viewing others should be from a platform of love and caring.  Look at the words of Jesus from Matthew 7:1-5 as a further indication of how to view others.

Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. And why worry about the speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye?  Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye. (NLT)

This week you will have plenty of opportunities to make a judgment about someone else. You can easily think about their faults, weaknesses, misplaced views, etc… but just maybe with a consciousness to care first and love regardless, you will ask God to intervene in their needs. To not be judgmental does not mean you have to stop having opinions, but it should cause us to reflect on what Christ would do. Christ met others at their point of need and so can, and should we.

It is so easy to judge a friend in need and miss God presenting us with an opportunity to love and care. That moment is a chance to support, not to judge.  When we are like Eliphaz, we may feel right, but when we are like Jesus, we are right.

yeam_2014


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