Thursday, June 14, 2018

Judged

That woman in that totally inappropriate dress for Parent-Teacher conferences at your child's school. That teenager with the shorts that reveal a bit too much. The businessman clad in designer suit and shoes. The teacher standing in front of twenty-five out of control kids with her expo marker and no math lesson plans. The busy mom of four who handles with flair every stinkin' thing that comes her way.

They have one certain thing in common.
I looked at them and weighed them. I made a judgment about who they are, what kind of lives they lead, what they are worth. 

Be honest. You do it too. 

You looked at that woman with the 3-inch high heels and the dress that hugs her curves, and you assumed you knew everything about her because you know her type. What type is she?  Did you know she is the mother of three, living in a trailer park, working a steady job, trying to make ends meet?  Did you know that she grew up in an even worse trailer park, with little to eat and little to wear?  Did you know that she felt the first sting of judgment as a kindergartner with the not-new-but-new-to-her tennis shoes she wore the first day of school?  Did you know that, as a child, breakfast and lunch were her two main meals each day, that sometimes those small school meals were her only meals for the day, and that she is determined to better for her three children?  Did you see the hurt in her eyes and the blow to her heart when she overheard your catty comments about her clothes?  I did.

You shook your head and said, "Mercy!" when that teenage girl sat down and crossed her long legs.  "What were her parents thinking when they let her go out in those short shorts?" you wondered.  "Somebody should teach her better."  Maybe somebody should teach her modesty, take her under their wing to show her how valuable her purity is. Maybe she's doing the best she knows because no one ever took the time to teach her her value, to instill in her her worth.  Maybe that hard look she has about her hides her insecurities and her fears of ever being loved.  Did you consider that?  I did.

You followed that businessman with your eyes as soon as he walked through the door.  Perfectly coiffed hair, expensive sunglasses, shined shoes.   He's got power and magnetism.  He is successful and handsome too. You immediately sized him up with his Armani suit and expensive watch.  You noticed the barista's response to his perfect white-teeth smile, and you smiled too.  You heard his laugh and thought you'd like to know him.  He must have grown up with a silver spoon in his mouth, private schools, expensive vacations.  He's got it all.  Perhaps. He has all that he thought would make him happy and he's worked hard to get it.  Yes, he started off ahead of the curve, but the top of the hill isn't nearly as wonderful as he thought it would be.  He hides the loneliness in white powder, he swallows the depression with a shot, and he buries his fear of never being good enough in the bottle of pills.  You didn't see his hand shake.  I did.

You stood outside the classroom and wondered at the chaos inside.  How could any child learn in this environment?  How could this teacher let it get to this point?  How could she just let her students run wild and be so loud in the hallway?  Every time you voice an idea, she tells you a better way.  She talks a good talk, puts on a great face when the principal is around, but you've got her number. You didn't hear her sigh when she was asked to be on another committee. I did.

You watch that young mother at church.  She has four children under seven and she has it all together.  She works a full-time job, runs the Sunday School program, and does it without getting a hair out of place.  She and her kids are dressed in the cutest outfits and their hair is always perfect.  You don't have children, but when you do, you want them to be just like these little lovelies, and you want to be just like this perfect mom.  Her pictures on Facebook are unreal; they look like they are straight out of a movie. Gorgeous husband, adorable kids.  What else could she want?  You don't notice in her busyness the fatigue in her eyes.  You don't hear the hitch in her voice when you asked her where her husband was last Sunday. You don't see the struggle to keep up the perfect image; you don't see what it costs her.  I did.

You keep looking and judging by what you see and hear, but the outward appearance doesn't tell you the value of the person. It's been said, "Pay no attention to how tall and handsome he is. I have rejected him because I do not judge as people judge. They look at the outward appearance, but I look at the heart."  

I judge by what I know.  I know the broken hearts.  I know the abuse.  I know the loneliness.  I know the fear of never being good enough.  I know the exhaustion of trying to hold it all together.  I know what the arrogance hides.  I know.  I know it all--all the hurt, all the lies, all the envy, greed, and lust.  I see every single sin.  But instead of talking about and assuming things about these people, I did something else.  I judged them "worthy".  I judged them "beautiful".  I judged them "loved".  I judged them "enough."

I judged you the same.

You are beautiful.
You are worthy.
You are loved.
You are enough.

Because you are Mine.

Your Father,
God



















Monday, February 19, 2018

Return


You are unfocused.  You are scattered.  Where are your thoughts?  That's where your heart lies.  I'm not your heart.  You fill your time and your mind with things that do not matter when you can fill your life with Me.  What do you yearn for?  What do you desire more than life itself?  Nothing.  

Nothing.

Your passion has left and you gave up pursuing me.  You are resting on your past laurels, your past encounters.  You cannot do that.  You must engage with Me daily, yearning and protecting that time we share.  It is precious.  Yes, I walk with you everywhere, every day, but that time apart with Me is needed and sanctified.  You are empowered when you meet with Me.  You are equipped and fed when you draw near.  You are satisfied and you hunger for nothing when you feast in My presence. 

Taste and see.  Stop feasting on the things the world has to offer--filling up your time, your thoughts, your hunger with things that don't matter.  Use that time to draw deeper into Me.  You walked away from it.  You were wary; you were hurt, confused.  That season is over.  Now is the time to draw strength from ME and in Me.  Put away the worldly things.  Keep your eyes and your heart on Me.  Talk to Me every day, every minute.  I am with you and want to live life with you.  Be where I am.  Do what I am doing.  Listen for My voice.  Watch for My move.  Walk in the grace that I have given; leave the condemnation behind.  Let go of what has been done and live a new life with Me.  





Sunday, October 1, 2017

Set Free

"In Christ, there is no condemnation."

Romans 8:1


      You focus on where you fail, but I see where you grew. You look more and more like Christ with every choice. Keeping your eyes on your failures will never let you see the victory.
There is a reason you focus on your failures. Words have been spoken into you by others that took root and choked out the joy and peace and love you had in Me. Your child-like faith was crushed and the lies were rooted deep. Ask Me to reveal them to you. I will. Ask Me to get rid of them, and we will--together. You have to be willing to let them go. It will not be easy because they have been your constant companion all these years. These lies are familiar; they are comfortable; they are who you believed you are all these years. You have to be willing to let them go.
You know I am good. You know I am faithful. You know I can do this thing. You just have to trust Me that the pain will be only for a moment.
You can keep those companions, but you will never be an overcomer if you do. My way leads to complete freedom. That's what I want for you.
You love me. I know that you do. I have never doubted that. I know you. Let me love you the way you need for Me to love you.

"Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death." 

2 Corinthians 7:10