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Sunday, June 14, 2020
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Friday, May 15, 2020
It's really easy to judge other people. We love to point out what we don't like about them, in all sorts of ways. "I don't like what they say," or "I don't like how they act." The problem with this judgmental way of thinking is that we can constantly focus on what's wrong with everyone. This mindset is a trap that will constantly steal our peace. One negative thought can easily lead to another and we can find ourselves in a constant mental war with anyone and everyone.
This is what the devil wants. He wants us to focus on what's wrong with everyone else. He is a master distractor, that loves to have us focus on what's wrong with others, instead of what may be wrong with ourselves. He can even use the Word of God to have us constantly fighting with each other. Let's just say the devil will use anything to divide us. Don't fall into this trap.
Why is living free of judgment important? Because judgment is a heavy, heavy thing. That voice in our heads that loves to judge everyone and everything can constantly steal our peace, and make us angry, upset, depressed, anxious. You name the negative emotion!
This can open the door to the devil. The accuser that loves to judge everyone and everything to "his standards". He is the self-proclaimed "supreme judge" that loves to separate us, divide us, and turn us against each other. This can also lead to anger, hate, and the self-entitled position for us to dole out judgment and the desire to punish each other. This is a burdensome job, a job that is not ours.
Furthermore, I will explain whose job it really is as we continue on further...
1. Are You Perfect?
Remember the popular phrase, "Nobody's perfect?" Well, except for God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, the phrase is very true. Although we can know right from wrong according to God's Word, we can still make mistakes. Jesus said, "Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone," when the adulterous woman was about to be stoned to death. Every person dropped the stone and walked away because they realized they were all sinners too (John 8:7).
We're all sinners. We can realize that we're surely not perfect and no one else is either. We all make our own mistakes and don't want to be judged and punished by others for those mistakes. If anyone knows that we're not perfect, it's God. His standards of perfection are so high, everyone besides Jesus, fell short. But God still loves us regardless.
That's why God's Word is so helpful when it comes to how we think and treat others. When we realize we're not perfect, we're less likely to dole out judgment upon other people. We can still love others given their flaws and mistakes. If God, the Holy of Holies, can do this for us, we can surely do it for them.
In Matthew 7:3-5, Jesus goes on to say, "Why do you look at the [insignificant] speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice and acknowledge the [egregious] log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me get the speck out of your eye,’ when there is a log in your own eye? You hypocrite (play-actor, pretender), first get the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye."
We can be so quick to judge, criticize, ridicule, and opinionate about what others do wrong. But how often do we examine our own thoughts and behaviors?
*Here's a tip that really helps me:
Every time I find myself judging someone,
I turn it back around on myself.
I call it "turning the mirror around"
and I look at my own actions, thoughts, and behaviors.
I ask myself, "Do I do that?"
Then dig deeper, "Do I do that in any way, shape, or form?"
and even, "Have I done that in the past?"
And, "How would God want me to treat others,
given that I may have made the same/similar mistakes?"*
We can take these opportunities when we want to judge others, to examine ourselves instead. Ask yourself the above questions and truly think about what you have said or done. We will explore much more on this topic in the next blog!
I love what Joyce Meyer says, "The less you judge, the more peace you'll have." Ain't that the truth? Judgment is a heavy burden to bear. To constantly have to judge everything someone does or says is mentally, emotionally, even spiritually taxing. If we give ourselves that job, we'll never have a day off! So...
2. Who's the True Judge?
The only true judge of this world is God. The truth is, we never have enough information to judge anyone fully. We don't know a whole person's heart like God does. We are not the moral authority. Only God is the moral authority. We don't know everything that's going on in a person's life. We don't know everything that they've been through either. Only God knows everything.
So leave the judging up to God. He knows better than all of us. Let God take care of it. Our God is a God of justice (Psalm 50:6). He will serve out His punishment that will perfectly match the crime. Even if we feel offended by something someone else does to us, God will take care of it. Personally, this way of thinking gives me so much peace.
Let go and let God--this saying never gets old!3. Can You Forgive Them, For They Know Not What They Do?
Maybe you're a person that's read the entire Bible and can accurately state what's right or wrong, good or evil, a sin, or a virtue. But the truth is, most people haven't read the entire Bible and just don't know. Before I started this journey, I for sure didn't know half of what I know now. I realize now that others simply don't know certain things, and I can forgive them because I didn't know those things either.
I can forgive others because God has forgiven me. We can, "Forgive those who trespass against us," because God forgives us for our trespasses (Matthew 6:14). If we can learn to treat others the way God treats us, let me tell you, there would be so many fewer problems in our world.
The Golden Rule is paramount: "Do unto others, as you would have done unto you. (Luke 6:31)."
Let's not let the devil divide us, separate us, and turn us against each other. As believers, we can unite under God's love for us as we learn to love each other. Let God be the judge. We can pray for others' repentance and obedience. We can encourage others to read, learn, and study the Word of God. Let us be the shining example of what God's true love and acceptance really are.
Read Part II. Freedom from Self-Judgment next!
And remember Jo may know better, but God knows best. Follow Him and He will never lead you astray. If you enjoyed this please remember to subscribe here: https://www.joannmears.com/jo-knows-better for free notifications on each new post!
Thursday, October 17, 2019
This is a hard one. And I think the reason why it's so hard is that we have had 1. very happy memories and 2. powerful lessons that we've learned. We all have memories that can bring a smile to our faces instantly! And yes, we've all been through a lot that has taught us very valuable things about life.
Just like one of my favorite quotes says:
I think the danger lies very discreetly in the way we think about our pasts. I believe there is a tendency to compare our present moments to our pasts, especially as we get older. The stories we tell ourselves of "I remember when..." or "I looked so good when I was (this age)" can actually cause harm to our present-day outlook.
Constantly comparing our current situations to how we were or how things are now can steal our current happiness and peace. There's nothing wrong with remembering the good 'ol days. But whether or not we choose to admit it, we can become the stories we tell ourselves, either good or bad. So we have to be very careful! More on this in a future post*
Another reason why it's so hard to let go of the past is PAIN. Yes, it is a four-letter word. We have all been hurt by other people, by experiences, and even ourselves. We can tell ourselves the same stories in our heads over and over again. "This happened to me. It hurt like hell. I can't believe they would treat me that way." I used to do this all the time.
But finally, I had to say ENOUGH.
That broken record of everything that's happened to you is an album that needs to get retired and thrown in the trash! Those stories only make you a victim. Not a hero or heroine. That is the past dragging you back to where it wants you to be. Misery loves company and that includes the past!
If you truly want to be happy in the here and now, it's time to let go.
How do you do it? I know how! Let me tell you how to!
I'm going to say this loud and clear: The only way to let things go is through FORGIVENESS.
Think I'm joking? I'm really, really not. I have had to tattoo that word onto my brain. Permanently scar it into my psyche. Etch it into my conscience!
It's the only way, my friends. You have to forgive that person. That thing. And yourself. Over and over, and over, and over again. These are the tips 1, 2, & 3!
Does that person deserve forgiveness? Maybe not. But that doesn't matter. Do you really think by forgiving someone it gives them the power? It doesn't. Forgiving someone means "I'm taking back my power. I will no longer let you have any control of my thoughts, feelings and actions any longer. I forgive you. You are in my past. I'm letting it go."
This is so important. Nothing others do is because of you. It's because of them. Don't get caught up in their drama, their pain, their behavior. It has nothing to do with you.
Now, this is no way means that you have to let that person back into your life, especially if they are abusive. You do not deserve abuse and there is no way you should allow it in your life. By simply forgiving someone, you are taking back your power by no longer even giving them, or the situation, another thought or moment of your precious, short life.
There's the famous quote or some variation of it: “In fact, not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.” - Anne Lamott
Not forgiving someone is only going to continue to hurt you.
Secondly, can you forgive an experience? This is a little trickier. Unfair things happen. Life goes wrong, sometimes it seems like for no apparent reason. Maybe you have chronic pain, like me. Maybe you even have cancer. Maybe you just got smashed into by a car this morning. Sometimes things don't make sense.
I've learned that you have to forgive your experiences just like you would forgive another person. One way to do this is to acknowledge that we shouldn't take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of us and the tragedies that befall us are not punishment for our behavior either. This knowledge comes from Don Miguel Ruiz and "The Four Agreements" something I highly recommend.
For a long time, I thought that I had done something wrong to deserve chronic pain. Now I can't believe I ever thought that. Did a baby born with brain cancer do something wrong? Did a man walking across the street that got hit with a car, do something wrong? No... and neither did I.
Forgive every bad thing that has ever happened to you. If you have to, write it down. There is something magical that happens when you do this. All of a sudden your past will start losing its grip, its power. You can take back your story. You are not what has happened to you. You are so much more powerful than that.
Now thirdly, there are times when we DO have to forgive ourselves. We have all made mistakes. Said things we shouldn't of. We have hurt other people. It doesn't mean that we did this on purpose. Most of the times we didn't. That's why forgiveness is so important. Just like most of the time, other people didn't hurt you on purpose either. It was just a by-product of their actions and perspective.
When we don't forgive ourselves, we can't let go of the past.
Guilt is an extremely dangerous emotion. It can lead to alcoholism, overeating, and even suicide among many other harmful things. The lessons that we learn throughout our lives are very important, yes! But does that mean we are supposed to rake ourselves over the coals again and again for it? Are we supposed to torture ourselves with the would've, should've, could've for the rest of our lives? No.
The past is gone. Let's learn the lessons but then, move on!
Maybe you think you've done something unforgivable and that's a very unfortunate way to think. What has helped me so much is picturing Jesus Christ, on the cross, in unbelievable pain, and still finding the strength to say, "Forgive them for they know not what they do." This is so true. Everyone and everything can be forgiven, all you have to do is ask for forgiveness and in your heart of hearts, strive to do better next time.
To live in light, we must forgive others, our experiences and ourselves. It's the only way we will find true peace and happiness in the present moment. And the present moment is all we have.
Thank you so much for reading & make sure to subscribe at: https://www.joannmears.com/jo-knows-better for notifications on the latest posts! Have a wonderful day!