Several people have told me over the years, “I can’t quite figure you out.”. It’s true. I’m a bit of an enigma. By nature, I have the traits of an artist – messy, unorganized, procrastinator, can get lost for hours in writing or music – but by day, I work in an accounting department where I manage to stay organized and efficient. I struggle with anxiety and depression, but I love nothing more than to make people laugh and I tend to give off a “happy” vibe. And though I have a broken heart, I have a blog telling other women it will all be alright.
It’s easy to understand why one might be confused about me. But like you, I have many layers, many sides to who I am. We’ve all been through great times and hard times, and each experience has helped to shape us into the person we are. We have scars – physical and emotional – that we carry with us every day. We have triggers that bring up memories – pleasant and unpleasant.
Still, I’m often misunderstood. I get the impression many of us are. We form opinions on others. We interact with them once, maybe a few times, and then decide if we “like” that person. We may dislike their arrogance. We may judge a woman for her weight – too heavy, too thin. We may decide someone is a snob because she didn’t speak to us. We do this every day. We form our opinions based on interactions we have with them, or what we see of them. But allow me to challenge you here. Is it possible you don’t know the whole story? Is it possible your opinion is wrong?
Perhaps that “arrogant” person has been hurt by someone so deeply that what you perceive as arrogance is, in fact, a wall they built up to protect themselves? What if the woman who’s too heavy has a thyroid problem, and the person who’s too thin has someone whispering in her ear that she isn’t good enough until she loses more weight? What if that “snob” suffers from social anxiety because she was bullied growing up? We only saw one layer of these people instead of realizing there is a whole person in there, and then we judged them.
I am judged daily. I’m willing to bet you are too. I’m overweight. I’m a single mom. I’m a Christian. I have some gray hair. I color my hair to cover the grays. Sometimes I curse. Sometimes I lose my temper. Sometimes I fail. And every day, people judge me. And every day, people judge you. And every day we judge others. I know, I tried to deny it too. But if we’re being really honest here, we’ll see that we do. We’ve all been in situations where we’ve judged someone.
So how do we stop judging?
We have to look at them with our “Jesus glasses” on. Jesus showed kindness, acceptance, and love to all. The adulterer, the lame man, the poor, the list goes on. No one was below Him. We are called to live that way. He was perfect! He owed no one anything. If anyone had a right to judge, it would have been Him. But He didn’t. Who are we to think we have that right?
Stop participating in gossip. Someone is always talking negatively about someone. What is the point of that? What are we hoping will happen with that exercise? Do we want others to dislike the same person we dislike? Why? To validate our feelings? Do we even know what we’re saying is true? And so what if it is true? Our list of sins is long, is it not? Just remember while we’re talking negatively about someone else, someone is likely talking about us. One of my favorite quotes is by Eleanor Roosevelt, “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”
Pray for those who judge you. Ooh. This one is hard. It is human nature to want to argue your point and prove you’re a “good person”. I’ve been judged unfairly – I get it. And as someone who likes to be liked, it bugs the crap out of me when someone judges me. We have to remember, though, that their judgment is not a reflection of you. It’s a reflection of them. When we look at it from that angle, we realize that they need prayer. They may be lost. They need to see how Jesus treated the least of these. When someone has the love of Christ in them, and are truly seeking God, they start to view all people as His. Imperfect is perfectly okay. Jesus has got us covered.
In closing, I’d like to say that we all struggle in this area to some degree. Be prayerful about it. God will show you where you need to work on this. He’s helped me a lot in this area. And when you’re the one being judged, say a prayer. Respond with kindness. It isn’t enough to tell people we believe in a loving and forgiving God, we must live it. We must show it through our actions how much His forgiveness and acceptance has changed our lives.
“‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me’” Matthew 25:40
“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you. Isaiah 54:10
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12