I have a friend who told me of a book she was reading recently.  It was written by a minister who was trying to work on his judgmental thinking.  You know those moments when we think harsh things of someone; maybe we've had a negative experience with a person, or maybe we've just "judged them by their cover" so to speak.  This minister LOVED ice cream sundaes.  So, he made a bargain with himself.  This man wanted to free himself of the chain of thinking less of; or harshly of people.  His bargain was for every day he did not judge another person he would reward himself with an ice cream sundae.  At first he was so excited to know he would be eating his way through many ice cream sundaes...oh the joy!  And, all the while he would be helping himself be free of judgments or harsh thoughts towards others.  At the writing of his book he reported that it had been two years since he had enjoyed an ice cream sundae.  It's tough folks!

Yes, we ALL have judged another person.  I'm convinced it is one of those regrettable human conditions.  I've done it; thought harshly of someone; judged someone.  I DO it from time to time.  I'm not proud of that behavior, so I've spent a lot of time recently in my head, on my knees to God, and have been actively working on ridding myself from that kind of thinking.  It is HARD sometimes!  It happens often without even realization that I've done it. I don't WANT to be burdened with a judgmental heart.  Even when I have been wronged.  It is not only damaging to my ability to truly be a servant of God, but it also keeps me from creative thought; which is paramount for an artist!  Judgment  fills space in our hearts with negative thoughts that could be best spent on good and Godly things. Philippians 4:8 "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things"

LOFTY:  Of imposing height.  Elevated in character, exalted. Affecting grandness; pompous.  Arrogant; haughty...

Come on folks; we are all in this life thing together.  We should be trying to help each other through the trials and tribulations of life.  Can you imagine being stranded on an island with a group of people and NOT wanting to work together to get back to the mainland?? Our goal as Christians is to live as God asked and to bring as many people as we can with us to heaven!  We can never NEVER help another person from a lofty place.  To be there for someone who has struggled in life the answer is to crawl down to whatever lonely place they might find themselves in and lift together from a sincere love in your heart.  Jesus did that for us in the most incredible way.  HE DIED on a cross; a horrible, cruel death...full of pain and taunts from those at his feet who were looking at Him from their lofty places.  Read the accounts at the end of Matthew, Mark, Luke or John...or if you are more visual watch "The Passion" reminded of the torture our Lord faced FOR US.  THAT is the example.  And I am shamed for failing my Lord when I sat from a lofty place above someone who may have needed my love so much.  I am grieved that I ever let another human down when they were struggling with life in some way.

 I'm not preaching to anyone from a lofty place; I'm begging others to understand how we can come across when we sound harsh or judgmental; when we sometimes think we are better than others because...oh, I don't know...because we made good choices in life...or we go to church all the time...or we have a feeling of safety in life and don't like dealing with those who have struggled and may be living consequences of choices that might not have been so productive.

I've been in some pretty low places in my life.  I live consequences of some of my choices that may not have been productive.  I also am a product of consequences from life.  I made a choice to feed my children instead of paying school loans I had incurred. I had to get deferment after deferment.  For a single mom who loved her children and needed to get a degree to support them, there were years when they were growing up when I had to choose between paying or feeding my little ones.  As life went on and jobs were difficult to come by, or I lost a job, I could not pay them for a time.  As a result my consequence is school loans so huge I will NEVER pay them off.  I am getting too old.  My old age will be spent with loans hanging over my head.  My life will never be free of debt.  There have been people who judged me for being "irresponsible".  It hurt me.  It didn't encourage me in any way.  It wasn't true.  Their judgments were unfounded and placed on me from their lofty place of wealth and a feeling of being better than because their lives were different.

In the reverse, I've also encountered people who loved me as I was.  People who spent their time with me brainstorming possibilities, giving me phone numbers of people who do things that I might be able to do, helping me with ideas.  There have been people who built me up by naming the qualities in me that they admired.  People who prayed for me and with me in my search for a way to pay those crazy loans.  I ask you, which group do you think were doing what God asked of His children?

Yes, getting down in the trenches with someone who is hurting and struggling is the way that God asked us to be.  It is His example.  It is the best way for us all to have our reward when we are all together again one day; where there will be only equality.

PS.  If reading these words makes you angry, re-read the part about the minister and the ice cream sundae's, or read how Jesus died and place your child on that cross..  It is a hard thing to humble yourself TO yourself.  We all have judged, we all have had our lofty moments, so no one is exempt.  Just some of us have struggled with it longer, and have come to the place where we see the damage, and we want to get in those trenches with someone who may need us down there.  I've been carried on someone's back before, and I want to be one who will carry someone on my back.


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