I’ve come to a few conclusions of late: the first is that people often are the harshest in areas where they themselves struggle, especially when it comes to judging others. The Second conclusion is that I am a person who has a hard time in not judging others. I’m not speaking of biblical correction: it’s something every believer should do when a brother or sister in Christ stumbles. What I’m talking about is the acting as judge, jury, and executioner: making up our minds about someone, and not forgiving, or extending the forgiveness and Grace that God, through Christ has given to us. In my service to Christ, I’ve often acted the part of counselor. I’ve been frustrated more than once when someone doesn’t heed the advice I give them, especially when what I say will happen comes to pass (this happens most often in pre-marital and marital counseling). And, even though my predictions of what will come to pass if the course correction doesn’t happen often happens, I must, daily, remind myself that I am not the one who sits on the seat of judgement. People are fallible. We all fall short of God’s glory, and I repent daily for my own failings. It’s easy to judge. Why do we do it, though? Why do we place ourselves on a seat only qualified for God in His ultimate goodness? In examining my own life and experiences with others, I’ve come to understand that our judgements are often defensive, caused by wounds within our lives that we have not dealt with. We judge because it keeps people away from us, because, if they’re out of arm’s reach, they can’t hurt us. We judge because it justifies our own frailties while condemning others (I’m not as bad as that person). We judge because it keeps us from having to grow, change, or even forgive. What do we do then? What is our option to right this wrong, and humbly submit to God as the judge? We must first and foremost deal with the wounds within our own lives, and each and everyone has to do with unforgiveness. We treat others based on how others treat us, and to heal, we must learn to forgive what others have done to us. We must learn to let go of the things people have said and done, no matter how horrible, and learn to live, free from the burdens of the pain. Otherwise, we’re letting people live rent-free within our minds, and it effects every relationship we have, whether or not we mean it to. Forgiveness is not giving someone a pass, nor is it inviting them back in to hurt you again: what they do after you forgive them is between them and God. Forgiveness is letting go of the pain, hurt, and torment someone else did, and fixing your eyes on Jesus, and trusting that He will work all things, even the horrible things, for your good. Forgiveness is even praying that God will find that person, as He did with you, and heal them, as He’s healing you. Get off the judgement seat: forgive, love, and extend grace freely. You’re free in Christ, and who He has set free is free indeed. Matthew 18:15-35 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.
“Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii,and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”