One thing that I really, really, REALLY dislike is when people allude to things on public forums and then don’t tell you what is going on. And so I try to not do that — which has resulted in some very lonely, very private grieving for me over the last year. And I still don’t know what to do with some of the “stuff” — but so often the things that weigh me down involve the people that I love deeply, and their stories, though so very much a part of my heart and my life, aren’t mine to tell.
My life is so interesting. I truly am never bored. I’ve already said that I would at least like the opportunity to be bored, but I almost think that I probably have had the opportunity, but didn’t recognize it because of the many diversions looking me in the face. I recently read the book, Vera’s Journey, (by Judy Yoder, ©Vision Publishers, 2010) and was challenged, moved and blessed by it. If you get a chance, read it! It made me aware of how often people have had tragedy, life disappointments, even handicaps (deafness at 38) and still have lived long (102 years!) happy and fruitful lives. I am ashamed of the way I so often am stymied by such insignificant things. I am ashamed of how often my sadness over other people’s choices arises out of selfishness, too. i.e. “What will people think?” “It makes me feel so sad!” “I’m so disappointed!” And often I think, “If I were the kind of wife, (daughter, parent, sister, friend) that I should be, somehow they would love/respect/defer to me, or even be the person I think they ought or could and even (maybe especially) should be.”
One of the things that I have found myself doing is making excuses for the people I love, trying frantically to provide logical explanations for what they said, did, or thought so that other people wouldn’t be upset with them. Quite honestly, I often can see where people are coming from in the decisions they make and the things they do, even when I don’t exactly agree with them. Sometimes even when I violently disagree with them. I usually am able to see where they are coming from, and desperately want everyone else to understand them, too. I am never quite sure why people come to me about people and things that I really have no control over, either. I will say this, though. The things that cause you concern in the lives of my husband, my children, my mother, my siblings, my friends, are (for sure!) causing me concern, too, But this morning, when I had spent some time crying, some time thinking and praying about my response to a particular incident, I was particularly praying that God would help me see things from His view point, that my responses would be bathed in His love, that my sorrow would be Godly, not selfish, and that relationships could be stronger, more honest, more transparent, and that the people I meet up with would be drawn to Jesus instead of feeling cut off from grace.
And then I picked up “Our Daily Bread” and read the reading for today. This is what I found!
July 16, 2010 — by David H. Roper
When Jesus commanded, “Judge not,” He was not implying that we should be naïve or imprudent. Of course we need to think critically and analytically in this world where we are often confronted with error and wrongdoing. Instead, He meant that we should not be condemning or accusing, a point Paul made eloquently: “Judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts” (1 Cor. 4:5).
Poet Robert Burns made a similar point, writing of those whose actions are in doubt: “One point must still be greatly dark—the [motive]. Why they do it.” No one knows another’s motives. God alone can bring to light what is hidden in darkness; He alone can expose the intentions of the heart.
Jesus knows the latent forces that motivate others: the cruel beginnings, the fear, the disappointment, the broken heart, the sin that is resisted. Moreover, He is working in every submissive heart to bring it to maturity. Thus in the end—quite often contrary to our expectations—He will bring praise to those He has brought to completion.
The Lord alone can try the heart. Until He returns, let’s ask Him to help us examine our own.
“Condemn not, judge not”—not to man
Is given his brother’s faults to scan;
One task is yours, and one alone—
To search out and subdue your own. —Elliott
Be slow to judge others, but quick to judge yourself.
How is that for hitting the nail on the head?!? Once again, I was humbled by the timeliness of this devotional. It is just amazing to me how God knows what I need. He knows how quickly my heart can go from concerned to critical, from caring to selfish, from accepting to condemning. It was so important for me today, and I am so grateful to God for sending it my way.
What has God done for you this week?
Oh, yes, one more thing. There really are six batches of Cinnamon Roll dough in the fridge awaiting the morning. If you want to buy some freshly baked cinnamon rolls, come on down to the fundraiser yard sale that we are having to help raise money for Rachel’s Mission Trip to Thailand. We plan to sell homemade lemonade and sweet tea, too. There will be prices on stuff, but if you want to make a donation to her trip and get a tax receipt, that will be available, too. It’s going to be a scorcher of a day, so we don’t want to stay out too long.
There will be a few other people setting up tables, too — so come on down! (Or up! Or in! Or Over! Or Out!) We hope to set up around six or so, but cinnamon rolls probably won’t be ready until 7 or so. (Not even then if I don’t get to bed. So here I go!)