Most of us have heard the passage “Judge not, lest ye be judged.” But have we given that teaching the attention it deserves? Do we really know what is meant by judge? Perhaps there are types and degrees of judging others?
If you’ve never seen the move “The Shack,” (or read the book by William P. Young), I highly recommend it. I won’t go into detail about the movie specifically, but there is a wonderful message and lesson to be learned from it: we are all on a journey and who are we to judge another for the way that journey unfolds?
Judging others and especially harsh judgement, usually stems from a person having unresolved feelings of anger, bitterness, envy and personal insecurity. After all, people who are happy in their life and who feel content, positive and secure, rarely judge others.
So back to the movie. The main character has immense anger due to a family tragedy and he eventually goes to “the shack” where God is waiting for him (you really need to see the movie to better understand). During the time he spends there with God and Jesus, he learns that he is not just judging others, but condemning them and that is robbing him and his family of happiness. God shows him that it is not up to him to judge or condemn and helps him to see that hate, resentment and jealousy not only steals our peace, but also robs us of our joy and love.
For time sake, I’ll go ahead and give a synopsis of the salient points:
- We are all God’s children — every single one of us and God loves all of His children
- Forgiving someone doesn’t excuse their deeds or words and it doesn’t establish a relationship — it’s just “letting go of his throat.”
- We may have to forgive those who’ve wronged us repeatedly — it’s a process.
- Ultimately, nobody gets away with anything and there are consequences, even if we don’t see them.
- Holding onto judgement and anger devours you, not the person you hate and it robs us of peace and the capacity to love.
- If you’re trapped in a bad place, you’re not stuck because you can’t let it go…you’re stuck because you won’t let it go.
- Hate, anger, envy, cruelty, bitterness and all toxic emotions hurt everyone.
- Love, forgiveness, kindness, compassion, generosity and gratitude are what brings love and joy.
- And, the one message that really comes through, is that we are never alone. God is always with us.
This movie is a tear-jerker, so be prepared. But the messages are so beautiful. I feel we judge others because some among us believe they need to somehow help God — almost as if they’re the official earthly spokesperson for God. But God doesn’t need us to judge and condemn others. Of course, there are degrees of judging and condemning and it gets tricky. For example, a serial killer. Surely we’re not expected to just look the other way, right? Of course not. But what we’re doing is judging people for everything: sexual orientation, choice of spouse, clothes, home, looks, race, religion, political affiliation…you name it and there are people who judge over it.
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” – Matthew 7:15
Life would be so much more enjoyable and pleasing if we would just let the toxic feelings flow out of us. If we would just take that leap of faith and realize that we are not here to judge harshly and condemn others. We’re here to be good — to love, help, uplift and respect. If we believe that each of us are on a personal journey, then one must respect that everyone else is too. Help them on their journey, as you too would wished to be helped on yours.
Hate and condemnation suck the life out of us. These toxic emotions drown us in a sea of misery and if we stopped to reflect on it, we’d see that nothing good comes of hating anyone. Love is the answer and the great news is that love is free — if we allow it to flow, it’s an inexhaustible commodity.
“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” – Maya Angelou
“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
“I believe that life is a journey towards God, and that no one has the right to insist that you go a certain road.” – Pat Buckley
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:32
Today, commit yourself to love. Reject hate, anger, bitterness, envy and condemnation. Look at people with love in your heart and recognize that we’re all on a journey and not all journeys are easy ones. And maybe, quite possibly, if we pay attention, we might just discover that the journey is where all the beauty of life can be found.