by Margaret D. Mitchell
Week of November 5, 2017
“You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.” -Romans 2:1
A friend of mine once shared a pivotal testimony with me: She said that after 30 years of struggling in a difficult marriage with a man who behaved rebelliously, God completely turned her husband around.
To her surprise, God began with her, the devout Christian, not her husband. The Holy Spirit revealed to her the truth of her heart: that she held onto doubt, fear, unbelief and self-righteousness, to name a few sins. After confessing and repenting those, He instructed her to begin to confess and repent of the sins that she saw in her husband as though they were her own. When she did this, the Holy Spirit convicted her of committing the very sins she saw her husband commit. Until then, she was blind to them. This was a humbling process for my friend that ushered in a breakthrough in her marriage.
God uses relationships to mirror what lurks within our hearts, the issues that cause us to stumble, ones that deceive us. He does this for the purpose of presenting us with opportunities to overcome them because He loves us and wants us to accept His freedom from the bondage of deception so that we will serve His heart on earth and receive all He has planned for us.
But sometimes, in our prideful self-righteousness, we desire for God to see our good intentions and others ungodliness. Our humanity likes to convince us and others we’re right, justifying our secret sin, all the while hoping for God’s judgment (divine punishment) to fall upon the other person for hurting us.
The Lord expects us to discern what is right through having the mind of Christ (John 7:21, I Cor. 2:15). Sin, however, skews our ability to discern God’s truth, His righteousness. It opens the door for the enemy to lie to us, deceive us into falsely believing we’re right and others are wrong (Ja. 4:12), and it causes us to judge others based upon appearances and circumstances (I Sam. 16:7), not God’s wholehearted truth.
Spiritual discernment does not mean condemnation. Rather we are to meet people where they are, as Christ meets us (Rom. 15:7), forgive them (Lk. 6:37), pray for them and submit ourselves to being sanctified by Holy Spirit as He reveals our secret sins to us so that we may repent and operate in a Christ-like mind of clarity. In other words, we are to humble ourselves unto The Lord and allow Him to get the proverbial "log" out of our own eye (Lk. 6:39-42) first.
How often does God place us in work environments where people challenge us to come up higher, to humble us, to test our patience, our tolerance, the truth of our heart? How often do we secretly pray, “God, if You’ll only move that person out of here, it would make my job easier.” But God is more concerned with our countenance than our comfort. Is it possible He’s doing a work of correction in us because He desires to promote us, grow us, take us to another glory?
In His omniscience, God sees the full measure of our heart, our motives and our intentions (I Cor. 4:2-5, Ps. 7:8-9); and we do not. We only see in part. Hence, God is the only one who is in perfect position to judge us and others. We must rely upon Him for His perfect vision and discernment.
I know of no quicker way to relief than to process difficult relationships God’s way by seeking His heart and asking Him to help us overcome our own issues. After all, He is always preparing us for the next level. If we humble ourselves, He will exalt us and deal with the other person for us. If we do not, we curse ourselves (Matt. 7:2) and, by default, we choose to keep being tested until we receive the lesson. How long will we choose to foolishly wander around the mountain of misery and bondage?
If you’re struggling with a difficult person in your life, I encourage you quickly forgive them and seek God’s heart on the matter. Ask Him what He desires you to learn and to overcome. Then repent of the sins He reveals to you, and ask Him to help you to come up higher. Be obedient to His precepts along the journey. Then stand by for your promotion.
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