When I started this blog, I made the decision to put my heart on display for others to see. Even when it’s not pretty. Even if it means admitting I can be…judgemental. When I’m writing, I often feel pulled to sharing my past mistakes and regrets. More often than not I end up exposing my insecurities and faults for all the world to see.
But that’s ok, because it’s important for me to admit that I’m not perfect. If I was, I certainly wouldn’t be here. Enoch walked right on out of here and I think I’d like to do the same. But at this rate, I’m going to need the extra 365 years he had…
As Christians, we should all consider ourselves to be a work in progress. The key word there being ‘progress‘. A lot of people become satisfied with the fact that they’re not perfect, but forget that we’re here to grow into His image. Who here wants to remain as the “before” picture? Shouldn’t we strive to be more like Christ than we were the day before? It’s easy to see the failures and mistakes of others, the difficulty comes in finding the fault within ourselves. My pastor often jokes about “pitchfork sermons“. These are the sermons where the preacher says something that catches your attention and you think, ‘I hope so-and-so heard that!’ or ‘It’s too bad so-and-so wasn’t here today’. We’re so busy ‘pitchforking’ the preacher’s message over to the left and right sides of the church, we totally miss grabbing it for ourselves.
I’ve been there. In fact, I still struggle with those judgemental thoughts from time to time. Who doesn’t? In Romans 7, Paul admits that what he doesn’t want to do, he does. And what he does want to do, he doesn’t. Now at first, I was a little confused by this – what in the world is this guy talking about?? But then Paul goes on to say that even when we love the ways of the Lord, we’re still going to struggle with our flesh.
“Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.”
I know that I’m not what I want to be, nor what I’m supposed to be, but I am so very thankful that I am not who I used to be. I am, praise God, a work in progress. It took many years for me to realize I didn’t need to be satisfied with the type of person I was. Extremely critical of myself, I felt out of place around church people. They’re all so…nice. And here I am all…not nice. I was often cynical and very sarcastic – considering it to be “who I was”. But I realized that this perception of myself was holding me back in so many ways.
There were many church services where I felt as though I received nothing. I would look around and see so many people being blessed and wondered, what am I missing here? Why am I not affected by the preaching of the Word? Why is my heart not moved?? For goodness sake, why don’t I ever cry?
Being cold to the Word is a horrible feeling. It begins to feel like you’re just going to church because…it’s the right thing to do. I realized, I was missing something. I don’t want to attend church because it’s required. I want to attend because I can’t wait to get there! I want the Word to excite me and move me to tears, to affect me and change me.
Be careful what you pray for. 😉 Rest assured, the Lord is most certainly listening.
It didn’t happen overnight. In fact, looking back, I realize it took a year or two for me to notice even the smallest change in myself. It takes time. Nowadays, I can’t get through the day without tears welling up. I’ll be scrolling through Facebook and read a story of an act of kindness and suddenly I’m sniffing up a storm. Just last week I was driving to Target and a song came on the radio. Three sentences in I couldn’t even hold it together. I asked for a sensitivity to the Lord’s mercy and grace and boy, did I get it.
But still, I find myself struggling with these judgemental thoughts from time to time and immediately I have to bring myself in check. Everyone is in a different stage of their journey. I don’t know the struggles they have or the circumstances they’ve been dealt. I couldn’t even begin to put myself in their shoes. But that which I do not want to do, I do. And that’s just me struggling with my flesh. But slowly but surely, He’s changing me more and more into His image. It reminds of that song we used to sing, “He’s still working on me. To make me what I oughta be…”.
Don’t be discouraged. Recognize the areas you need to work on and do it! Don’t be satisfied or complacent with your faults. Recognize the need to change and ask the Lord to help you. If you struggle with being judgemental of others, even in the smallest ways – pray about it and ask the Lord to soften your heart. Ask Him to grant you His eyes and His ears so that you may see everyone with His grace and mercy.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” Romans 12:2-3