I received a quote in my inbox the other day attributed to Mother Teresa, and indeed it was an answer to a prayer. The quote simply said,
“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” – Mother Teresa
Why is this an answer to a prayer?
You see, now that I’ve learned a little bit more about God and who He is, sometimes I get stuck in a mindset. A mindset that says I wish people could see Him the way I do. Then I am full of frustration when they don’t jump up and down with squealing excitement whenever I point out a great Bible passage or an important spiritual lesson I’ve learned. I am full of disappointment when I don’t see them making changes for the better. Changes in ways that I am believing for–and in a way, that is a form of “judging” others.
Related Post: How to Love People More and Judge Them Less
Now it’s not a bad thing to desire that everyone you know, develop a closer relationship with God. It can become difficult if you believe you’ve got to walk out that relationship for them. Do you feel like you need to be the sole source of other people’s experiences with Him? It can be extremely difficult if you’re judging everything they are doing or not doing. Judging everything you’re saying rightly or wrongly. Thus, losing focus on just simply loving them in that moment. I believe that God wants each person to have his or her own journey of discovery with Him. Just as I have had and am continuing to have with Him.
He desires that “walk in the cool of the garden” relationship with each of us as He had with Adam and Eve.
Okay, true enough, people may need some guidance. And yes, true, sometimes people leave me wondering what I can do to help them, what I can say that will make any difference. I do try to help when I can. Sometimes what I do helps, and sometimes, quite honestly, it seems that it makes things worse, and then I don’t know what to do!
But one thing I can do is live the best life I can live, be the best Sharon I can be right now, at this very moment. And by “best” by the way, I don’t mean perfect. I can let my own light shine as an example to others (Matthew 5:16) so that they may see the goodness of our God and want to know Him better.
The Lord is teaching me to accept people right where they are because that is exactly how He accepted me.
God didn’t wait for me to be perfect to start loving me. He didn’t wait until my house was in order (spiritually or physically) for Him to love me. In fact, He knew me before I was ever born (Jeremiah 1:5 ESV) and He accepts every right and wrong turn I make. Accepts every nuance, every quirkiness and He chose to love me anyway. He chose to come here, live, die, and rise again for someone like me! Now that is awesome!
I know in my heart that I can’t judge others because I know whatever it is they’ve done or haven’t done, I have probably done it. Or some version of it myself. Or I have caused somebody to do it, maybe even have thought about doing it. No one is perfect, I have brought curses upon others and stole their blessings with my negative words. Jealous thoughts can get in the way about people. I have been “the enemy” in the lives of others more times than I’d like to admit. But Lord I repent and I know you forgive me.
The “good news” is that God gives me the choice to behave differently.
God does not want automatrons that just live and worship Him on demand. God wants people that genuinely love Him and who want to experience the love that a good parent offers.
What I learn from God is that too many times I try to play God by thinking I know what’s best for everyone. But you know what–that is exhausting. I have learned that God is the ONLY one who knows exactly why people are the way they are. And He is the ONLY one who knows what He wants to do in their lives. He is the only one who plans to do it. Sure, God may use you as a partner in the process, but God has His own special way of tying things together to capture a person’s heart so that he or she knows exactly that it is God and no one else who is making things happen in his or her life.
Who will you be today?
You can be “Jesus” to people with your kindness or you can be “the enemy” to people with your darkness. Be one who believes God is who He says He is or not? Trying to play God won’t get you anywhere, but instead partner with God. You can be thankful, or decide not to be. Do you want to be loving or not? Are you going to be patient or not? You can be caring or not. He gives you the choice…