Tag Archives: judging

This Is My Story, This Is My Song: The Third Eight

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? –Matthew 7:3

story song by Grant Cochrane

image courtesy of Grant Cochrane / freeditigalphotos.net

I graduated from high school one week after turning 17 and headed off to college at James Madison University. I spent my first two years at college struggling to find myself and my faith. I struggled with drinking and partying and having no relationship at all with God, at one point even telling my mother I wasn’t sure if I believed in God anymore. While I had stopped looking at pornography when I came to college, it had already taken its place in my mind, changing the way I looked at people and the expectations I had for them. I cut people out of my life if they didn’t meet my criteria for what “good people” were. I judged people, had very little grace, and carried around a great deal of shame.

When I decided to turn my life over to Jesus my junior year, I left my former partying friends and joined a campus ministry, determined to change my course. But even there, I maintained that everything with me was great. No one knew that I was still secretly struggling with my self-worth and self-image, with being transparent and honest with others, and with having true intimacy in my life. I was hiding everything about myself behind academic and musical excellence. I made great friends but felt like no one understood me or the deep shame I had about my pornography addiction and struggles with lust and fantasy. I also continued to push people away with my brash and judgmental personality, leaving a trail of hurt friends in my path as I boldly proclaimed truth without love. I could see the everyone else’s faults, but I could not see my own. Even as God called me into youth ministry once I graduated from JMU, I continued losing these battles. In addition, my relationship with my family became strained. My internal struggles eventually became external, and I was abruptly fired from a youth ministry job. I took a break from working in ministry, believing that everyone else was to blame.

There I was: with broken relationships, a struggling career, and very little to call my own. I was too broken to see it then, but looking back, I can see that the common denominator in my problems was me. Too often people will look at their lives and say that they have constantly been victimized or dealt a bad hand—and sometimes, this is true. Other times, however, we are too quick to look at outside sources as the cause for our problems while refusing to look within. Why? Because it is easier to place blame than accept it. Even the Bible acknowledges this in Matthew 7:3—I was more likely to see others’ issues than my own. And Matthew 7:5 continues, “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.” And to be successful in ministry and life as a prophet gift, I would need to learn this difficult but important lesson.

In response to her penchant for writing songs about her failed relationships, someone said, “Did Taylor Swift ever consider that maybe she’s the problem?” Great question! Now, can we turn that around on ourselves, in our own situations, and ask, “Have I ever considered that perhaps I am the problem?” Because it’s when we are brave enough to look in the mirror instead of the windshield that we can begin to truly tackle our own issues and begin to heal.

Where do you most often look when problems arise: the windshield or the mirror?

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Authentic Responsibilities: You Can’t Judge Me

Judge Gavel by cooldesign

image courtesy of cooldesign / freedigitalphotos.net

“Authentic Responsibility #1: I alone am responsible for judging (evaluating, assessing) me – my motives (intent, needs, feelings, spirituality, abilities, intelligence, priorities, values) and to determine any adjectives that describe me. Therefore, I may refuse any judgment of me.”*

One of the biggest news stories this week came after the Seattle-San Francisco playoff game this past weekend. Cornerback Richard Sherman of the Seahawks had just made an incredible play; he then proceeded to give an interview with a reporter that blew up social media. In my own social media timelines, I saw words like “ghetto;” “disrespectful;” “unprofessional;” and some other unrepeatable phrases. Sherman is a known trash-talker, an incredible athlete and student of the game, and a beast at his position. He also graduated second in his high school class in Compton, graduated from Stanford University, and has started a charity to educate kids from his hometown. However, after one interview, people have judged him as nothing but a classless thug.

We humans are a judgmental group of people. Even Christians sometimes fall into the judgment trap because we believe that by pointing out others’ flaws, we are holding them accountable (not being judgmental). However, there is a fine line between conviction and condemnation. The devil condemns and often uses others—even Christians—to condemn us and attack our identity, personality, and worth (like some did with Sherman). The Holy Spirit deals in conviction—of wrong behavior, thought processes, and sin. As Christians, we need to make sure we are dealing in accountability that convicts, not judgmental attitudes that condemn (Luke 6:37). Mostly, we need to be our own judge—nonjudgmental while firmly establishing ourselves in the correct judgments of ourselves and others.

So what are three ways you can embrace the authentic responsibility of being your own judge?

  • Stop judging others yourself. We contribute to the issue when we continue handing out judgments to others. I am constantly working on this! A few months ago, I would have jumped right into bashing Richard Sherman as an unprofessional ghetto thug. But after that interview, I was convicted to find out more about him. A friend and I shared positive stories about him via social media the entire next day. While many were vilifying him, I sought to understand him. I can now call myself his fan because I learned you can’t judge a man by one interview. Start with one person and stop the cycle of judgment (Matthew 7:1–5).
  • Start refusing others’ judgments of yourself. This includes positive judgments! If we refuse only the negative judgments others have of us and revel in the positive ones, we will be too eager to believe our own hype—especially if it comes from the mouths of others. We must be cautious about pride and about allowing others’ negative views of us to become our own. Interestingly enough, this commercial for Beats by Dre came out the day after Sherman’s interview (warning: explicit language, please pardon):

So be your own judge (Romans 2:1). But don’t just hear what you want to hear…

  • Keep believing God’s judgment about you from His Word. This is the only fail-safe plan to knowing your identity and understanding who you really are, what your motives are, and what adjectives describe you. God has written these things down in His Word for us to read and re-read and then read again. Take some time to search the Scriptures to find out just how much the Lord loves you. It’s the one judgment worth reading!

The first step in authentic responsibility is taking responsibility for evaluating yourself—and believing the true Word about who you are.

How do you take authentic responsibility for judging yourself? Share in the comments or contact me today for a free 30-minute Identity Intensive!

*Taken from Authentic Responsibilities by Kathryn Chamberlin, LCSW-C.