Because of the privilege and authority God has given me,
I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are.
Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves,
measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.
I was in the presence of someone who was fighting addictions. The default thing for me to do was to look at them and think I was better than them. But a few seconds later I realized I was no better than them. I was fighting my own addictions. That day I had just deleted my instagram and facebook apps from my phone.
Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with social media apps. The problem was what I had made them to be. I realized I had a major problem with sitting still and enjoying the moment and/or the current environment (Are you able to seat still and not have the urge to constantly have your phone in your hands?) I constantly wanted to see what people were posting. I was perturbed by the frequency at which I checked my phone. My phone had become like my baby. I had to know where it was at any given moment. If I had to put it in my bag, it was the first thing I checked the moment I settled down. Concentrating in church had become an uphill task, because it meant sitting still for TWO hours without checking what was going on in my apps.
What I found most alarming was the frequency at which I kept checking my apps when I had posted something. I am embarrassed to admit I have constantly checked who ‘viewed’ my status or who ‘liked’ my status. This to me revealed my addiction to affection. The need to be affirmed. This need was interfering with me. Sometimes I will want to post something but convince myself not to do it I’m thinking if I post this what will they think of me. When I think about it, it is just amazing the things I have failed to do or done because I feared rejection.
Do not judge, or you will be judged.
I know this is one of the most controversial verses in the church today. It is easier to share my ‘affection addiction’ because in the eyes of the society and my Christian community it is ‘acceptable’. I wonder if I would be extended that same kind of grace if I was writing a different story, a less acceptable sin like substance and sex abuse? But what’s the difference? It is all idol worship.
I know we have all struggled with something in our lives and yet because we compare ourselves with others we feel at least I don’t do that as if the standard were them. Judging is what religious people do and it stems from a place of pride. That kind of pride prevents you from seeing and repenting from your sin because the focus is on another’s. Deep inside our hearts we are acting just like the pharisee who prayed ‘Lord I thank you because I am not like that tax collector.’
Zacchaeus did the unthinkable sin at that time. Being a tax collector was the equivalent of modern day fornicator. He had lived with pharisees all his life. He was detested and shunned by the community he lived with. But when he finally met Jesus, for the first time Zacchaeus felt loved and not judged. Jesus had all the right as the Son of God and being the most perfect man to have walked on earth to judge Zacchaeus but He did not. That kind of love and not judgment leads to true repentance. We think if we shame people they will change but that is completely untrue.
I have not always felt like this. I have been like the prodigal brother, jealous and without mercy to those who were stumbling and those who were returning to the fold. But my shortcomings have humbled me. I have also been on the other side, being the prodigal son and experiencing reckless love from the Father. Thank God the prodigal brother was not the one who received the prodigal son because maybe we would not be having that story.
Because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone
who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
We have to learn to show mercy. Showing mercy is not the most natural thing to do. It only comes from a place of constantly being in His presence and learning at His feet. Those who stay in His presence do as He does. God is a God of mercy. He has not dealt with us as our sin deserves. And if He has dealt with us this way then we ought to replicate that kind of love and mercy.
I am not perfect and I am truly repentant of times I have felt and treated others like I was better. Truly I don’t think there is attaining perfection while we are still here on earth. I am aware there is a lot of argument on ‘Thou shall not judge’. But I believe the solution is in looking up to Jesus. The standard is how He dealt with people while He walked on earth.
No one deserves my judgement.