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We’re all in this earthly school trying our best to learn to be like God. There are times in our lives when a lesson hits us squarely in the face, and we begin to see things from a different and enlarged perspective. That happened to me, and I’d like to share the amazing, elevating things I learned:
Years ago, I was in a church meeting with my husband, and noticed that he kept nodding off. This wasn’t new. In fact, it happened quite often. This particular Sunday though, my self-righteous self raised its ugly head and I felt indignation that he could allow himself to do this. I didn’t buy into the “I’m just resting my eyes” story. I nudged him several times to wake up, and privately fumed that he wasn’t paying attention when he should be. At this judgmental moment, the Spirit conked me on the head saying, “Anne, do you always pay full attention in meetings?” Whoa! That hit me hard. The honest answer was, “No, I don’t!”
Because I was humbled by the spirit, I was “shown” that I could use this experience to help me be better. After that time, whenever I would see him (or anyone else) dozing, it was an opportunity to serve as a reminder for meto check how much I was paying attention; nobody else.
“Turn Around” principle
Through that experience I discovered a fascinating principle: When we feel a negative emotion or judgment against someone else, it’s usually because we have a lack of peace inside us? We feel justified in judging because it helps to take the focus off our private failings. Ouch! There’s a way the spirit taught me to overcome our needy natures and find our own liberating inner truth. I call it “Turn Around Judging.”
When we feel ourselves judging someone, it’s possible for us to use that negative feeling for our benefit! We can actually learn to turn around a thought or emotion to orchestrate change in ourselves.
Notice the judgments that you make: “He’s insensitive!” “She’s shallow!” “He is so proud!” As you notice yourself making these judgments, turn them around and question yourself: “He’s insensitive!” – turn it around – “Am I always sensitive?” “She is so proud,” – turn it around to – “I’m proud!” or “Am I always humble?” Try that on.
Does the turnaround speak truth? It did for me.
I had a friend who shared an amazing insight that she received in a very justifiable judging situation. Her husband had been heavy into pornography, and she understandably struggled with feelings of anger, betrayal and resentment. She had been in a very dark place, and in her attempt to gain balance, went to the temple. While there, she complained to God about how unfaithful her husband was, and expressed all her negative emotions concerning him. She wanted comfort and validation from the Lord because of what her husband was putting her through.
She was absolutely stunned when she heard a stern voice in her mind that said, “You are unfaithful!”
What! She replied in shock, “No, I’m the one that has been faithful!”
Then she heard the words that changed her life. The spirit said, “When you descend into dark emotions of self-pity, anger and resentment, you leave my presence, and are not faithful to me!”
At this moment of revelation, it became crystal clear to her that the thing she needed to do was to focus on her desperate need for the Lord and feel His healing love and light, and to stop focusing on the judgment of her husband.
This realization had a freeing effect on both her, and her husband. When people live in the energy of our judgment, it’s much harder for them to fully repent. When she shifted, he was able to shift as well. (Story used by permission)
I want to be completely clear that when I talk about turning the judgment around, I’m not suggesting that we put ourselves down. It is actually liberating to embark on self-discovery. When we judge others, we are really judging ourselves, by revealing our own lack-level of spiritual maturity and ability to love. The good news is, once we begin to be aware of these things in ourselves, we are in a better position to transcend them.
How to Un-Judge Others
When you find yourself judging others, pay attention to the judgments you’re making. Turn that judgment around and see if you need the change you would like them to make.
Examples of Turnaround Judging
“He never listens to me!” – Becomes – “Do I always listen to him?”
“She’s such a gossip!” – Becomes – “Do I speak only good of others?”
“She’s so overweight.” – Becomes – “Do I always eat right?”
“He doesn’t treat me well.” – Becomes – “Do I always treat him well?”
“She is so disorganized!” – Becomes – “Am I always organized?”
“She is so rebellious!” – Becomes – “Do I sometimes rebel?”
“He is so stubborn!” – Becomes – “Am I stubborn?”
When we judge, we become like the condemnatory Pharisees that Jesus challenged with,
“He who is without sin among you let him first cast a stone.”(John 8:7)
Who are we “throwing stones” at? When we begin to ask the hard questions and become humble enough to see our own weakness, we lose our desire to point fingers.
The enquiries we ask ourselves should question our own faithfulness to the Lord instead of the faithfulness of others. Truth is, we will never have peace when we focus on the sins of others. If we look at others with humility and compassion, we might be able to understand the pain that causes them to do the thing we don’t like. I love and agree with a brilliantly insightful statement that Wallace Goddard wrote:
“Fixing people is really God’s prerogative. Our job is to bless them. Only as we become more godly should we attempt to change another person. And here’s the great irony: As we become more godly, we enjoy people more and more just as they are. We don’t care if they change.”
(Wallace Goddard, “Recreational Repenting of Others,” 2009).
One of the defining traits of the Savior is His ability not to condemn us.
“For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world.” (John 3:17)
If we want to become like Him, we must learn this trait. When we can arrive at the point where we don’t condemn or label others and open ourselves to critical inquiry instead, we will come to a place of unconditional love. We no longer will be judging others or ourselves, because we will love who we have become.
You Can CONTACT ANNE at [email protected].