Shalom! Wow, what a powerful word! I do love words…apparently God does too. :) And so this blog is off with me chasing a rabbit. ha!
No. I’m writing this today to qualify something I said in ‘The Golden Fish Notebook’. The part about where I talked of not waving my hands about in worship. I may have written about this before, but I don’t recall for sure.
The difference between being discerning and being judgmental can be confusing. When you have a discerning spirit you must not allow yourself to crossover into being judgmental, especially towards a person (or a people). Remember, in this world our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Check it out in Ephesians chapter 6. (Not sharing which verse because the whole chapter is so very rich!)
However, being judgmental is what I want to talk about. Some of what I have to say is going to be a little embarrassing for me, but here goes!
I can’t stand it when I am being judged by people. It causes me to freeze up in so many ways. But I can feel in my spirit what others are thinking. So, you would think since I hate being judged that I wouldn’t judge others, right? Wrong. Many times what we see to be horrible in another person is exactly what is in us. sigh…
For many years I attended a church whose pastor and worship leader (I was in the choir at the time) would talk of the proverbial person who would stand in the congregation with arms across his chest and say, ‘bless me if you can’ during worship. At least, that was their spin on this man (not just one). Now, being raised Baptist and suddenly having the freedom to raise my hands and dance (to some degree) during worship, I was in total agreement with the leadership. ugh. People, be in agreement with God, not man.
So, there I was, sitting out in the congregation during praise and worship with my hands held high and what do I see in my spirit…that man, that man that has his arms across his chest. I keep pressing through to sing as unto the Lord (ha!)…and there he is again! ‘Father, what is going on? Why do I keep seeing this man?’ was my question as I put my hands down and became still to hear what He was trying to show me.
Words never rang so loud as what I heard. ‘His heart is closer to me than yours ever will be.’ What? But, why? ‘He is here with a wounded soul and is doing the best he can.’
And I wept and wept.
I saw it. How dare I stand in judgement over that man! I was broken hearted and repentant. And that began a journey of correction, the kind that only a loving Father would do for His child. As for this man’s heart being closer to God than mine ever would be…I don’t know or understand. Honestly, I don’t care to. If, one day, the Holy Spirit chooses to share understanding with me about that, wonderful…if not, wonderful. But what happened that day; I gained a great love for all who stand in the congregation with their hands folded or their arms across their chest. And you know what, it also freed me to worship within myself or openly and to know God sees my heart (period).
You do know what I thought don’t you? That I had it! I would no longer be judgmental! I can just see God cracking up laughing! Each time the Holy Spirit would show me an area I was being judgmental, it would be a little deeper.
Here is an example that I am ashamed to write about. Being raised in a Baptist Church then becoming charismatic (titles are so dumb), I would say I love the people in the Baptist Church, but not the Baptist Church itself. I said those words too many times to count. Then God…yep…then God said ‘no you don’t’. Um, ‘no I don’t, what?’. ‘Love the people in the Baptist Church.’
Oh God! I don’t. And I wept and wept and repented. I do now! :) Judgement just went a little deeper. And I was freed from all those silly titles (not only Baptist, Charismatic, Methodist, but Prophet, Pastor, etc). Remember, we are one body.
This one is the worst of the worst for me. I am so desperately ashamed. I’m not going to use a name here. Some of you will know. There was this beautiful person; loving, kind, temperamental (said lovingly). She struggled with life and God (at times). As a teenager she was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes and her life changed. During her early years she became a smoker. Being married was something she longed for, but marriages never really lasted very long. She did have two wonderful children. Oh, and talented, I cannot even begin to tell you of all her talents. Here is the thing. With my mouth I didn’t mind sharing (mostly with my husband) with others about her life and her mistakes. Then one day, I was out walking my dog and received a phone call from home. She has stage four breast cancer that has metastasized in her lungs. Because she has the flu, the doctors are putting her in a medically induced coma to keep her body still so it can heal.
I couldn’t walk. I fell down to my knees and cried. Then I heard a voice say, ‘Isn’t that what you believed for?’ No, He wasn’t being cruel…He was using the devil’s scheme to show me something deeper than I’ve ever seen before. Oh God, yes…this is what I believed, it is what I said. I had put my trust in the world (and its beliefs) and not in Him not only concerning her, but in all things.
My husband and I left and made the trip across country as quickly as we could. When we walked into the hospital, all the family was waiting on us and the doctor turned the machine off and that beautiful precious life ebbed away.
I didn’t cause her to die, but I was standing in judgement, not only believing the world over the Word of God, but speaking it. I do have something to say about what the world believes verses what is truth…but not for this time! I will write about it at another time because the devil is a liar!
How do I close this? Today, judgement still rises up in my flesh. Most of the time I catch it quickly and repent. Other times, the Holy Spirit calls it to my attention (for which I am forever grateful) and I repent. Yes, even evil pride will well up inside me as I stand in judgement, but I do recognize it and repent. Remember when Paul was talking about he wanted to do what was right and yet he battled his flesh (paraphrased)…yep, don’t make me look it up…you do it. That is why…we fight! (Please go back and read all of Ephesians chapter 6.) And we die daily. And in the words of a good friend of mine…’that is all.’ Shalom.