500+ for 50 – day 21: case dismissed
Throughout the course of my life I’ve far too often assumed the role of judge. And quite honestly it’s about time that I own up to my actions and direct my full attention towards becoming a more accepting individual. I spend a good bit of my time writing to inspire and empower those around me, yet I tend to frequently regress in hypocritical fashion by judging the life choices of others who may not yet be in a position to hear the message that I’m working so hard to convey. If you don’t buy in to the mission that I’m selling, that does not make you a bad person. I’m just as flawed as the man standing next to me. And it wasn’t long ago that I was riddled with compulsive, addictive, and damaging habitual behaviors. Up until my late twenties I could have never called myself a man of faith as I do today. I was nothing more than the image of endless potential being wasted. If anyone’s life was deserving of criticism, it was mine.
So why is it that I am so impatient at times with those around me who are not on my schedule of personal transformation? That’s a tough question. I really do not like the person that I become in those moments when I sit back and critique the limitations of others. I can feel the negativity stirring within me as critical thoughts develop in my mind. And while I am far more disciplined now than I ever have been at any other stage in my life, I still tend to slip from time to time and allow my innate desire to play judge get the best of me. Perhaps it’s my own insecurities still fighting for their place in my mind? I guess the devil really doesn’t want to let go. He knows that if he can put me in a position to criticize the lives of others that I will only cause further harm to myself, and that the internal damage resulting will dilute the positive influence that I seek to offer to the world and God’s people.
As a Christian it pains me deeply when I allow myself to fall into the traps set by my own mind. I work far too hard to eradicate limiting behaviors from all aspects of my life to allow myself to fall victim to the sinful nature of my mind time and time again. I don’t expect to be perfect, but I know that I can be better and that I MUST be on a consistent basis if I am ever going to fulfill God’s calling for my life. If I don’t eliminate my need to play judge, my habit will ultimately serve only to drown me in guilt, anger, and negativity. And I have bigger ideas for my life than that.
Being a critic is playing small. And every time that I choose to play small, I not only deprive myself of opportunities for advancement, I also negatively impact the lives of those around me. Judgment hurts, and when it’s vocalized, it spreads like wildfire. Have you ever sat with a friend or loved one and made a negative remark about someone? What generally occurs? In my experience, the other person is often persuaded to start stirring criticism in their own mind where perhaps nothing existed prior to the initial comment. And just like that the evil multiplies. It’s no wonder that our world is so unforgiving.
Faith tells me that there is only one Judge. And while I tend to be able to apply that principle to my life in the story that I share, I still fall flat on my face with regularity as I assume the role of assessor in the lives of others. I often forget that I was once I man who was lost and begging for understanding. And in my dealings with those around me, I don’t seem to easily recall how challenging it was for me to start confronting my own limitations. I tend to grow impatient with the hesitancy and limiting habits of others. But that’s not the way of Christ, and that’s not a road that will lead to the fulfillment of my purpose here on earth. To be effective on my mission, I must get better…now.
Let’s commit to doing it together. Remember, criticism is contagious. Cover your mouth. Learn to tame your tongue and your mind. And if you see it as your calling to lift up the lives of others, always do so without offering judgment. I’ve wasted too many years being a critic, and I understand now just how very much I’ve limited my potential impact among those around me.
“By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)
May God Bless!