Religion

The Cost of Judgement

People instinctively pass judgement on each other it’s a natural process. We make judgement’s on the way people look, act, and behave. We will take those judgement’s, and often pass them around to others. We will label those judgments on people, and they become fact without ever speaking to the person we judged.

I believe that I am more than guilty of this. I would say that it is my biggest weakness, and as a Christian who is trying to follow Jesus’s teaching it’s an issue that I cannot overlook.

As Jesus states in Matthew 7:1-5: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brothers eye.

While Jesus was using rather funny hyperbolic imagery the lesson is the same. To place judgement on someone is to ignore your own issues.

I like to think about the times when I am shopping or in a waiting room, and there is a tantruming child there making a scene for everyone to witness. An even better example is to be on the light rail, or in the street and a couple is having a loud fight. In the past with these situations I have put judgement on the participants.

Look at that child why can the mother not take care of it, look at that couple they have some obvious issues.

I put judgement on people, but rarely do I try to understand what it must be like to be in that situation, and ignoring the times that I have been in that situation. I have never had a child, and can only imagine the pressure that new parents must feel when their child is acting out in public. Every child acts out, and for us to say that it is the parents fault for the behavior of the kid is to ignore issues that may exist under the skin. When seeing these occurrences I didn’t  have the experience of working with mental health that I do now. I have seen how a mentally handicap child can add immense amounts of stress on a new family, it is emotional for everyone. Who is to say that I would fair any better?

Everyone is different, with a different worldview, and different ideals of right verses wrong. It would be wrong of me to judge a person based on the few moments of meeting them, or watching them.

I know the intentions of my wife, my parents, and those who are close to me. Yet with strangers I have not met I should reserve judgement. How can I cast judgement when there is a plank in my eye, how can I cast judgement when I haven’t walked in their shoes? I can’t, and I shouldn’t.

So everyday from today on I will strive to reserve judgement for myself, and only to help myself be a better person. If I ever get to a point that there is no longer a plank in my eye then I may help my neighbor with the speck in theirs.

Fasting for God

Fasting is an important process for almost all religions. It’s about denying ones self to focus on God. The hunger inside will grow, gnawing at your insides, being an ever present reminder of your choice to deny the body the pleasure of food, but by having that emotional control to deny yourself food (or whatever you fast from) you satisfy your spiritual hunger seeking God. Learning that emotional control teaches discipline to follow the teachings of your choice of faith. It’s a great time of reflection and offers clarity to what is important in ones life.

I had the privilege to participate in a fast recently with my wife. The whole opportunity came about when we were discussing fasting with our Bible study group. There was discussion about the multiple ways we could fast, and that the whole point of the fast was to deny the body its pleasures. My wife and I decided to try fasting from food, and cell phones.

We started off with the cell phone fast. We agreed to stay off our phones unless we had a message or call. What I noticed immediately was how much I am on my phone. It’s become a sort of comfort entertainment that I use to pass the day. When things are slow at work I browse Facebook or Twitter. I look up funny pictures or videos to stimulate me even when there are other options to satisfy the craving.

I found after that the first day I had all of this free time. The phone was such a time killer. I believe I was on it four hours a day. Which may not seem like much, but when you consider the breakdown of my day it is a a lot. Instead of being on my phone I used that time to read additional verses, or attempt to challenge what I had learned. I took the focus off something important to my flesh and instead turned that focus to God.

After about a week of doing this the results were pretty much what we expected, by taking this bad habit out, and replacing it with a good one we were able to look at our lives a bit more critically. It allowed us to actually see how much we came to depend on our phone, and how much that pushed us away from each other. By removing the phone our relationship became focused on each other, and God.

I will discuss how our food fast was in a later post, but I would really like to reiterate that fasting is denying the flesh what it craves. If you examine your life what it is that your body craves that holds you from God?

The Death of Man

I recently had the opportunity to attend a men’s retreat with my brother. This was something new for me to do in a Church as I have never really saw myself as one of the men. As the youngest of three, and all of my siblings much older than me I never believed that I would reach the point of being a “man”, but there I was with all the other men at this retreat. I had mixed feelings about it from the get go. I thought I was walking into this assembly where we would eat streak from a freshly killed deer carcass while discussing the finer points of how to spit a long distance. It was, however, much to my surprise a good lesson for me to learn from. It’s good lesson for anyone to learn from.

We started off in Genius 2:15 where God commanded Adam to not eat from the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Adam received this knowledge before Eve came into existence. Eve was then later temped by the serpent, and ate from the tree then gave some to Adam. Adam who stood there, and said nothing to Eve. Adam who did not attempt to stop Eve. Adam who was silent as Eve sinned, even though he knew that if they ate from the tree they would surely die.

The silence of man in this story is deafening. At the men’s retreat the speaker encouraged us to open up about what we were struggling with as men. To discuss with each other the problems in our lives. In my group of eight we had three people open up. My brother and I being two.

It was discouraging to open up about the hardest part of my life currently to these men who continued to stay silent rather than opening up about their lives. Men will die of silence. The second I told my story I regretted it. It felt like I made a fool of myself, and the only thing I could hear in the back of my head was, “Should have just shut up.”

It’s like that being a man. I watch my father do it, killing himself with silence. Ever so often I get these glimpses into his life. Brief ten second window’s into what he really feels, and what he went through. These ten second images have become engraved in my mind because the pain that he feels. These ten second windows are hell. He keeps them bottled up inside, and drinks them down. Every so often he recounts one, and it turns my stomach knowing that my father has gone through so much. I only want to reach out and hug him. Tell him I love him, that its ok, that its all behind him now, that I can be strong for him. Instead, I tell myself it’s not my place, that if it gets really bad I’ll tell him to stop. I’m just silent.

What can I do? What could I say? I’m struggling and need help! Help me please!

Its been hard absorbing all this information, and trying to implement it in my life. I bottle things up, and I stay silent.

So, I want to make a change. I will start small with my wife. I will tell her things, and be open. Then work outwards. I’ll let you know how it goes.

THOSE PEOPLE

“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 3:17

It’s sometimes hard to get a break. To sit down, study, or write. Most of us are on the move constantly, and for me that constant moving makes it hard to really get into writing, and to create quality work (not that it’s quality anyways). I also needed a break due to many life issues that have come up, but at this point I am re-making my dedication to writing.  

Before this post most of what I have written about was life advice through my eyes as a case manager. I have always had this no proselytizing in the workplace stance when it came to helping people. However, my new self help will sometimes take on a more religious standpoint. Mostly due to my wife, Pandora, inspiring me by being baptized followed by my niece. This opened me up to talk more about my relationship with God.

So with all interesting updates that mostly is just me making an excuse for not taking time out to write lets get on with the subject: THOSE PEOPLE

I had the great privilege of being able to connect with others while doing laundry yesterday. It’s always nice to pass the time hearing what other people have to say, and what they go through day to day.

They wanted to know about the place that we worshiped, which is pretty new too since we are also fairly new to the area. We discussed for a time different places where we worshiped and they were both pretty upset with their experiences around town, and after listening to their story I would say they did have a lot to be upset about.

Their biggest issue was THOSE PEOPLE. The Church people. The man stated that he hated going because of the Hypocrites.

It’s a very good reason because there are a lot of hypocrites in the church, and liars, adulterers, alcoholics, murderers, and just about every other terrible person. In fact you could say that the whole point of the Church was for the terrible people looking for another chance. It was made for those of us who are in need of help, and whose lives are full of sin, not the righteous.  

It always hurts me to hear that people don’t like the idea of church because of those who judge them for not being perfect, looking dirty, or any other excuse. It really isn’t fair because no one has any idea what someone else goes through on a day to day basis. We are all there for God, and to become our best selves.

No one should feel unwelcome in the house of God, and that should be a concern with those in the Church. It’s a concern for me because I am a liar, hypocrite, and many other things but everyday trying to be a better person. I don’t want other liars, hypocrites, and others to avoid the church because they think I am perfect.

The best that we can do is encourage others in the church to ignore the judgement of others. That’s between them and God. For us we will do our best not to judge, but be welcoming to anyone who comes.

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