Women Judging Women
"God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble..." 1 Peter 5:5 (NIV)
How differently might our lives be if we women didn't have to fear the harsh criticisms of other women? Might we be willing to step out a little bolder for Jesus? Might we be willing to be a little more vulnerable? Might we live our lives a little less guarded?
Oh sweet sisters, women judging other women must absolutely break God's heart. The crazy thing is when we judge others, we elevate ourselves past the ability to recognize our own propensity to sin in the very area we are criticizing. Show me a woman who is leveling a judgment against another person, and I will show you a woman who is wrapped in sin herself.
If it's not the very same sin she's criticizing, it will be a sin just as dangerous — pride.
It is a subtle shift that Satan invites us into. Voicing criticisms against others will coat the eyes of our soul with smut so thick, we become blinded to our own sin. Pride and self-righteousness will detour us from God's best path and lead us on a treacherous journey of denial. We'll deny our own sinfulness. We'll deny our own need for grace.
Those who can't see their own desperate need for grace, refuse to freely give grace to others.
Now, if you're like me, you may be tempted to start making a mental list of those who you have felt judged by and you started praying a few sentences back: "Please let so and so read today's devotion. Oh I hope she sees herself in this and gets a whammy of conviction."
But, let's stop making that mental list and receive this message personally. Even if we aren't naturally critical people, this is an area we can all grow in.
I recently read a wonderful quote outlining a beautiful plan when we feel tempted to judge someone else. Francis Frangipane in his book Holiness, Truth, and the Presence of God says, "Anyone can pass judgment — but can they lay down their lives in love, intercession and faith for the one judged? Can they target an area of need and rather than criticizing, fast and pray, asking God to supply the very virtue they feel lacking? And then persevere in that love — motivated prayer until that fallen area blooms in godliness? Such is the life Christ commands we follow!" (pg.11)
I know just posting this devotion will not suddenly make the world tip on it's axis and shake all of us women into breaking the cycle of criticisms and judgment. However, maybe, it will be a start. If it causes even one of us to fall in front of Jesus in repentance and allow Him to wipe clean our spiritual eyes — it will be a great start. Now, let me be that one.
Dear Lord, may I first fall in repentance into Your loving arms of grace. Thank You for the harsh ways I have been judged lately for it has made me so aware of how hurtful this can be. Forgive me. I am a woman who desperately needs grace — therefore, I should be a woman who freely offers grace. When I am tempted to be critical of someone else, help me hold my thoughts and my tongue. Instead of voicing those things, help me bring them to You in honest, sincere and heartfelt prayers. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
The next time I feel critical of someone else, I want an action plan so that I can respond biblically. Don't you? Why not write out today's scripture verses on an index card and carry them in your purse. Below the Scriptures write, "Instead of criticizing, I will commit this person to prayer. I will stand in the gap for them with love and persevere in my prayers. I commit to keep my mouth closed but my heart wide open."
How did it feel the last time I was judged by someone?
Why not resurrect that stinging feeling each time we are tempted to be harshly critical of someone else? The hurt we felt can be put to good use if it prevents us from falling into the trap of judging others.
1 Peter 5:5b-6, "...All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.' Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time." (NIV)
Luke 6:37, "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven." (NIV)