Be Still Know
1 Thessalonians 4:1 NLT
…live in a way that pleases God, as we have taught you. You live this way already, and we encourage you to do so even more.
I have lived for many years in community. I have also been married first to Katey and now am married to Jayne. It is very easy to live out of my assumptions, and never enquire how my behaviour and actions are, in fact, perceived through someone else’s eyes. Marriage has taught me much in that regard!
It’s the same with living the life of Christ. For example, I so often act as judge and jury over other people’s lifestyle choices. I walk into a coffee bar, observe a couple both engaged with their phones rather than each other, and make an instant judgement about them and their relationship. In the first place, what business is that of mine? Secondly, perhaps they have just heard from a mutual friend of their engagement and are busily texting congrats. Then I recall Jesus’ own words that I am not to judge, for that is God’s job alone.
Refraining from making judgements about others is pleasing to God because it is an act of obedience in response to God’s will expressed in his word. Once I can refrain from judgement, my heart enlarges with space to listen and love. Listening can enable me to both understand how someone else sees themselves and the world. It also enables me to frame my response in a way that reflects the love of God. Win/win for everyone.
St Paul’s encouragement to work at developing the quality of our Christian life expression is a reminder that we never arrive. I forever have to wrestle with the plank in my own eye so that I might become more Christ-like in my appreciation both of myself and of others. This means exercising a little more humility myself and a big dose of generosity towards others. I might then pray from a generous heart rather than a judgemental one.
QUESTION: Do you find yourself taking time to criticise and judge others? Reflect on the fact that judgement is not yours but God’s.
PRAYER: Merciful Father, forgive me and rebuke me for judging where it is no place of mine. Humble my heart towards those I encounter today.