JUDGED.

JUDGED

By: Jana Greene

“None of us has ever seen a motive. Therefore, we don’t know. We can’t do anything more than suspect what inspires the actions of another. For this good and valid reason, we are told not to judge. ” ― Brennan Manning, The Wisdom of Tenderness: What Happens When God’s Fierce Mercy Transforms Our Lives

You don’t understand me. You may think you know me, but you don’t.

If you only knew my heart … you might not judge me so harshly.

 Or, you might judge me even more harshly….if you knew my heart.

A few weeks ago, I posed the simple question on social media:  “If you could describe the feeling of being judged by others in one word, what would that one word be?”  I  received an avalanche of responses from people of all different ages and creeds –  in rapid succession. Most of the responses were graphic, the words divided pretty neatly between two camps:

Deep, wounded feelings of inferiority,  and a strong, almost violent verbal depiction of spiritual beating.

Being judged  does not feel uncomfortable… or  a little unpleasant.

It’s personal.  It’s the worst kind of personal, because it confirms the  fundamental fear of being misunderstood, and couples it with the sting of rejection.

My own word to describe feeling judged  was “jagged.”  When other people judge me, it makes me feel torn – not slashed in a way that is easily mended or stitched, but with uneven edges and patches missing. When the full brunt of the judging stops stinging, I can tell that healing will be slow and scarring.

Isn’t that the crux of feeling judged? If taken to heart, it never heals just-so. Judgment feels jagged,  because it is sharp-edged self-righteousness … like the blade of a sickle, separating us one from another without benefit of cautery.

Many readers responded with similar words.

“Raw”” shared one friend. “Cut-to-the-bone,  ashamed, disgusted, disappointed, gut-wrenching….take your pick.”  She continued, ” it’s never fun to feel judged… like you came up short on character or something.”

Broken. Splintered. Betrayed. Heavily yoked.

Another friend found it difficult to stop at one word to describe her feelings. “Violated and victimized,” she explains. When people smile to your face, and talk behind your back, “It is sabotage , emotional hijacking.”

Being assessed as “not enough” is just as painful, as having your value estimated by another human being is often worse than having been misunderstood.

“Vulnerable,” described one young woman. And as if she had made herself vulnerable in the posting of the very word, others added to the sentiment. “And less-than.”

Misrepresented. Misunderstood. Rejected. Pitied. And perhaps most stingingly, condemned.

“Unworthy,” shared one. “And crestfallen.”

“Small,” said another friend, to whom I would never would have attributed that feeling. “You know – like someone has just decided you’re not worth a place at the table.”

The comments of one person gave me great pause.

“When someone passes judgement, I feel like they put a label on me,  stuck me  in a box and taped it up tight. This enables them to just ‘walk away’  and not ever really know the true me. I have to also add that I think people pass judgement when they are afraid, or lack knowledge and empathy.”

Only one person can have one person’s experience. Only God knows what my experience is.  The oft-repeated adage, “Only God can judge me” is true, but we forget that sometimes, when we are busy determining whose motives are pure and whose are not (as if we could ever know) and who among us is in the wrong.

Being judged by other human beings doesn’t make one  repentant.  If anything, it makes one defensive. Maybe when our spirits evolve beyond that spiritual schnaudenfrude (by your misfortunate deeds, I feel much holier) the blade will dull.  I hope so. I think God wants his kids to be kind to one another. That evolution can only happen when we ask for God’s help in overcoming our human ways.

I have to be reminded of this constantly –  to live this, because I’ve just made too many mistakes to survive  spiritually intact otherwise.  I’ve been too hurt, and  inflicted too much hurt – in my careless, momentary value judgements of others.

And taking the judgement of others too tightly to heart slices and dices, jaggedly…opening a a big, black, sucking vortex of self-important insecurity. When the scars from all the judgement become too tight, it is a reality check that I am giving people too much power.

The power to stick me in a box, tape a label on it and walk away…and never even know the true me.

The true You.

You don’t understand me. You think you do, but  you don’t. (Heck, I don’t even understand me!) But the Father, who understands every individual’s inherent value,  does. And it’s personal.

God, in Christ, says

“You think you understand me, but you don’t.  If you only knew my heart, you might come sit next to me at the table,  and know freedom.

I KNOW YOUR HEART.

There is no condemnation.

I’ve seen what you’ve done. It is finished, as far as the East from the West.

I’ve walked around in human skin, I know the temptations firsthand. It isn’t easy. Shake off that yoke.

Shake it off and stop trying to tie it around the necks of others. The burden is mine.

I understand you. In me, you are….

Perfect. Unbroken. Complete. Valued.

You are connected. Continuous. Fixed and whole.

I didn’t come to cut you away, but to bridge what is holy with what you are – what you really are …mine.”

With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.” – Romans 8:1 (Message)

 

Self-Condemnation Deflation

By:  Jana Greene

A dear friend and I were having a discussion about self-condemnation the other day; about how it is a struggle for both she and I to avoid condemnation of ourselves.  When I put myself down, I am believing what the enemy says about me is correct.    That with my past actions –I am worthy of condemnation.   I get stopped in my tracks, stopped from moving forward.  Whatever holy and good things I was hoping to do today to pass along the love of God, gets buried like tires stuck from driving on deep sand.  The more I try to move forward out of a self-condemnation mindset, the more my wheels spin.

I am no Theologian.  I am un-schooled in psychology.  But I am a sinner, and I have taken putting myself down to an art form.  I’m working on breaking out of self-condemnation; working on learning not to self-condemn.

In my life, condemnation usually happens in one or two ways.  Half the battle (if not more) is remembering who is the perpetrator of this oppression is – satan.  If he can keep me stuck like tires in the sand, I can’t go anywhere forward-moving.

My self-condemnation says:  The things I have done in my past determine my feelings of worthfulness to God now. 

Confirmation by the Enemy:  Who are you to tell other beggars where you found bread?  You made every mistake in the book, and now you want to spread the Gospel.  If you want to help God, don’t drag His name into your mess.   Who is going to listen to you? 

My self-condemnation says:  I can’t do anything right…I am my own worst enemy.  If you compliment me, I will find a way to point out something negative about myself so fast I don’t even have to think about it.  I just keep messing up, even though I love God with all of my heart, with all of my soul, with my entire mind. 

Confirmation by the Enemy:  I am your worst enemy, but thanks for listening to what I have to say.

One stream of thinking applies to my past, and one to my present and future.  But both of them show a lack of trust in the one who pulls me out of the ruts of my own making.  I don’t need self-esteem, I need my esteemed Savior, Jesus Christ, who can and will do for me (as much of a mess as I am) for you, for anyone.

I researched a little bit the word “condemn”, hoping to find an accurate definition, and learned these things about the word.  Those of us who apply condemnation to ourselves are, in essence:

1.       Declaring ourselves to be reprehensible, wrong or evil without reservation, usually after we weigh “evidence” that we decide is obvious.

2.       Associating ourselves with the following synonyms:  Damned, denounced, denied, and pronounced guilty and unfit.  Oh, and convicted, sentenced and DOOMED.

Those are big-ticket items, Spiritually.  Self-condemnation is really an act of sentencing ourselves to doom.

Interestingly, there is only one antonym- one opposite – given for the word in Webster’s online dictionary:

BLESSED

That’s pretty powerful. There is a battle going on to determine how we view ourselves.  We can’t always get to the  self-loathing feelings before they get to us, but we can be lifted up out of them.  As a matter of fact, we have already been lifted out….

Romans 8:1-5:  So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.And because you belong to Him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.  The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature.  So God did what the law could NOT do.  He sent his own SON in a body like the bodies we sinners have.  And in that body God declared and end to the sin’s control over us by giving His Son as a sacrifice for our sins.  He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for  us., who no longer follow our sinful natures but instead follow the Spirit.” – (NLT)

There is no fine-print disclaimer to this verse.  It doesn’t say, “some” or “a tad” or “a smidgen” of condemnation of those who belong to Christ Jesus.  It says there is NO condemnation.

On my own, I am totally condemnable.  But with Christ as my salvation, I am just  BLESSED.

Blessed to know that negative self-talk is NOT of God, and that I have the authority to rebuke it.

Blessed to know that the Lord is infinitely patient, and doesn’t expect me to change overnight.  I’ve honed some really effective self-condemnation techniques over a lifetime, and it will take His supernatural help to reprogram the way I think.

Blessed to know that I cannot “out-mess” His love for me…I am His daughter.  Like a good father, He has already done for me what I could not do for myself.

Blessed to know the sound of my Father’s voice, whose words never tear me down, but build me up in love.

Blessed to know that the enemy of God is referred to in the Bible as ” The Author of Lies”, unable to tell the truth.

Blessed that, as Romans 8 reminds me, “And because you belong to Him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.”  That leads to doom.

No Condemnation at all, for those in Christ Jesus!
AMEN!