One of the greatest gifts we can give our kids is learning that their perspective doesn’t entirely shape the world they live in.
This is a hard one.
You and I have been at the center of every experience we’ve ever had. To even try to view things from the perspective of another is remarkably outside our typical experience. It’s a very complex and abstract approach to understanding the situations we face.
But… As tricky as this may be, we still try to teach our kids this perspective.
“Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you.”
That’s the “Golden Rule,” right? We know that we need to understand the emotional impact of our words and actions on others.
Did you think about how what you said was going to make them feel before you said it? You need to consider it before you act! Is this going to hurt other people? Would you want other people two do that to you?
This sort of self-evaluation is a necessary tool to learn. It helps cultivate reflection and aids us in identifying areas of improvement. We need to maintain a critical eye over our own thoughts, attitudes, words, and actions.
How often does that critical eye turn outward and become a critical heart?
When our hearts cross that line, we become judge, and when you’re the judge you can no longer be a witness.
WHAT IS A JUDGE?
In a trial, the judge is the one who has the final say. The judge will listen to the evidence, weigh the arguments, consider the laws that govern, and, in the end, will make a decision. The judge has the final say in the courtroom. Once the verdict is delivered, arguments cease.
When we take the position of judge in our lives, we take a look at the evidence, weigh the arguments, consider the laws, and make a judgment.
Some of our judgments might be informed. We offer a critique on a coworker who we’ve seen make plenty of mistakes. We point out our children’s shortcomings. After all, we’ve been there to see these. We know the details and back story.
Some of our judgments aren’t informed. You likely have political opinions, perspectives of people, and situations of which you possess no first-hand information. Culturally, we judge celebrities and public figures from a distance, often with very little second and third-hand information.
Some of our judgments are entirely misguided. We have no idea what we’re talking about. We have no prior knowledge or experience. We only have an opinion and an informed opinion at that.
Anyone can yell from the crowd.
And… we do that. Too much.
Simply put, judgment is choosing for yourself what is right and wrong.
You might be a great person. Honestly, I’m pretty sure you are amazing. Even though you’re terrific, you’ll always make a horrific judge. You and I cannot get out of our heads. We’re stuck there. We’re entrapped in our own perspective, own rules, and our own interests. They will always affect the way we view things, especially things that matter much.
WHO IS JUDGE?
If we’re honest, most of the time, we sit in the judge’s chair of our own life. We rule over our lives with our own judgments. In doing so, we are pronouncing what is right and wrong. We are defining and redefining the law that governs our hearts.
James, the brother of Jesus, offered this perspective:
“Don’t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God’s law. But your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you. God alone, who gave the law, is the judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor?” James 4:11-12
Only God is judge.
It’s His law. It’s His right to judge.
Any attempt to hijack God’s authority to judge will invite trouble.
We’re not meant to criticize. We’re not meant to speak evil about others, even if we feel like it’s “true.” When did “I’m just telling it like it is” become an excuse for being mean?
When we step away from the posture of judgment, it allows God the honor of reigning in our life. We defer our judgments to a God who is a much better judge than we could ever be.
WHY IS GOD A BETTER JUDGE?
You and I can’t get out of our heads. We’ll always, for better or worse, have a bias based on our experiences and personal perspectives.
Our God doesn’t approach any judgment with those entanglements. He is free from a biased perspective. He is good, and His judgements are good.
You might not be able to get beyond that hurt that you’ve carried. God lives outside that hurt. He is free to guide you in a way that isn’t affected or corrupted by that hurt.
Someone might have abused you or hurt you in the past. To protect yourself, you might have lived by secret rules to keep yourself safe from that same type of pain. You may have considered certain people “bad” and others “safe.” This type of thinking may appear to keep you safe, but it instead creates a certain kind of bondage. God is free from that perspective. He will guide you from a perspective that isn’t spoiled by that past pain.
LET’S DO BETTER
We need a source of wisdom that is bigger than our understanding, for if you understand everything about your God, then you, yourself, are your God. God isn’t limited to our reason and understanding.
He is bigger than you. He is bigger than me.
When God instructs us to forgive, it’s confusing. Biblical Generosity essentially defies all rational thought. Jesus continually said, “You’ve heard it said ___________, but I say to you ____________.”
Why did Jesus have to redirect so much? Because we easily get it wrong.
We need a God to choose for us what’s right and wrong.
We need a God who anchors our perspectives.
Our kids need to learn that their perspectives don’t define their worlds. We do, too.
* * * * *
What’s one judgment you’ve made that you need to apologize for, release, and give to God?