A few weeks ago when this topic came up about NOT judging others, I was deeply convicted and I prayed that the Lord would show me the mirror. As I prayed these words I was also keenly aware of my deceptive heart and desired that the Lord would somehow hold me up to see things as I should, and not excuse myself (or cover my sins).
It wasn't long afterwards that I was given a glimpse of my true state of mind; and I was overwhelmed. I was shown that pretty much every waking moment outside of meditations of Jesus were spent in continuous criticism, judgement and condemnation of others. No one was spared. Those who lived in my home, next to me, in other locales or even countries - I did not even have to personally know these people - I was continuously judging others. The realization that my entire brain was 'wired' (programmed) to look upon scenarios and cast judgement..... The horror of this realization caused me to shrink and I thought to myself "how can I think anymore?", and this "what can I talk about?!", "I'll have nothing to say!!!" Oh, the horror and shame I have cast upon our loving Saviour by my blind actions.
This depth of sin brought to the forefront of my knowledge did keep me rather silent for a few days as the Lord showed me that the only think worth talking about would be Him, and how He has blessed me - and wants to bless those whom I converse with. This new way of interacting was giving me wonderful freedom in my mind and deep peace in my heart
....then the test came
We have rather loud neighbors who really like to entertain, and when they have guests over its alot of out-door shenanigans with alcohol so the folks are fueled with whooping and hollering, the music is cranked up ...you get the picture. I had pressure to do something about it.
So, a short while after I printed out the regional by-law code for noise, disturbance and had the intention to give it to the wife and have a chat with her to let her know that their noisy entertainment has pretty much ruined the neighborhood, and no one appreciates the disturbance. TWICE I went to her door and she was not home. Prior to this 'walk' to her door I had asked the Lord to prepare my mind - give me the words to speak in love...yet I felt nothing, There were NO words. I was empty.
When I walked away the 2nd time my soul was troubled. It was getting late in the day and I was really getting into a real 'bad' and bitter state of mind. I was getting angry at all my yard work, all around me seemed challenging and frustrating. I wanted to throw my garden shears and swear out some fine obscenities ....yeah, I was in a very poor state of mind - and I knew this to be because of my proud and obstinate stance to "go and fix my neighbor", and I knew it was NOT a spirit of love.
I pleaded with God that night to change my heart, plant within me the right solution and the willingness and open desire to DO the right thing - whatever that would look like.
In the morning I was determined to go to my neighbor and only show them love. Not even speak a word about their behaviour. Just show them love. I packed up a huge basket of my garden bounty and my fresh canning goodies along with a copy of Agape (it was REALLY heavy!!) and a homemade dog biscuit for her ankle-biting pooch. We haven't spoken all summer (yes, I just avoided her), so this time when I came to her door with such a huge bounty she was shocked, hugged me, thanked me profusely.
You know....I don't even have words to thank our Heavenly Father and his precious Son on how they managed to 'prevent' an absolute tragedy from happening should I have met up with her while I had the printed Bylaw in my hands - as opposed to a basket overflowing with love.
These actions may not change my neighbor, but they changed me. And THIS is the important part; people don't need to change because I do. I need to change and be molded into the character of Christ for His Glory. There are perishing souls out there that need love, NOT censure. Not one soul can be won by censure. I love my neighbors, and will continue to shower them with love and blessings because I love them, NOT because of any possible favorable actions.
I have repented of my rash and proud-full judgement, and peace and joy once again fill my soul.
Personally, I cannot wait for the new moon and the upcoming feasts - I NEED MORE OF HIM, and less of me :)