“I never want to be the girl that makes the other girl feel bad. Gosh, I am so glad I don’t act like that to people.”
I let that thought roll through my head while participating in a conversation that probably was not going to reciprocate anything positive for that day.
“My thoughts were justified. That was bad behavior. They should be ashamed, but I know they’re not.”
Not seconds after that I got a thump from the good Lord. *autocorrect had changed good from hood which may be more appropriate considering it was a hard thump and surely my gentle Jesus wouldn’t do such* BUT this voice, it said.. “and who are you exactly?”
Let’s be honest, for every two girls we envy there’s at least one we’re glad we aren’t, yes or no?
Don’t answer, I don’t want you to be thumped also.
This scripture came to mind immediately:
“I say to every one of you: do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement in accordance to the faith God has distributed to each of you.” Romans 12:3
My thoughts in that situation, as well as many other thoughts I’ve had, we’re in complete opposition of the very truths I share with all of you.
Now my grandmother always said “if you think it you may as well say it,” but I can’t be completely certain that her philosophy is completely biblically sound… but I do know that scripture says it doesn’t matter how clean your shirt is if the heart that holds it in place is dirty.
“The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart” 1 Samuel 16:7
That made my heart sorry, not for those girls this time, but for myself.
Y’all, I am not perfect. We aren’t. When did it become okay to wrap our concerns around the imperfections in the lives of others so tightly that our own sin seeps through judgement’s seams?
I am so quick to judge. SO QUICK and though I may go against what my Gracie said and keep them to myself, does that matter? Aren’t your floors still dirty even if the dust is confined to only under the rug?
As people, we’ve placed all these sins in different categories: bad sin, mediocre sin, and acceptable sin. While biblical theology does leave it’s students to believe that some sin is greater than others, the Bible itself brings a bigger message: that we are a broken people incapable of fixing ourselves, that the one and the only perfect person died to bleed over the things you cannot fix for yourself, and that it takes the same amount of blood to heal us all- not too little, not too much, but just enough.
We do not set the standard, y’all, but somehow the standard has set us. Society has set us to believe that sex before marriage isn’t as bad as pregnancy out of wed lock. Society has set us to believe that things like addiction, infidelity, dishonesty, and family disunion are all result from heinous dysfunction, but the people that pick apart the lives of those already picked over with gossip or critism aren’t. Society has lead us to believe a lot, y’all. But we don’t set the standard. We will, however, be judged by it. We can’t obey so long as it suites our lifestyle. Partial obedience is complete disobedience.
and so my heart was sorry.
Jeremiah 24 says I will watch over them for their good and I will bring them back. I will build them up and not tear them down; I will plant them and not uproot them, but John 15 says Jesus is the ultimate Gardener. He will cut off every branch that does not bear fruit and even the branches that have fruit he will prune back so they will be more fruitful.
We are purposefully planted by the kingdom, but even in Christ our branches get sideways. It’s not news to me that Jesus wants to cut back the rotten pieces of me that bring no good, but here He says even your good stuff I have to cut on. His provision has to be greater so we can be stronger, grow straighter, be more.
What began as conversation and criticism for me, ended with branch cutting conviction. Jesus reminded me “and who are you?”
And I’m certainly no judge. None of us are. Not for the people we like and not for the people we don’t.
“And now dear Lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I asked that we love one another. And this is Love: that we walk in obedience to his command. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love” 2 John 1:5-6
We are obligated to love- a jesus love.
This is Jesus and Jesus in you; not optional but necessary.
He demands love for everyone, not just the ones that get it all right because that then means love for no one- not even myself.