I grew up in a small town ... and one of the things small towns are known for is the rumor mill. And often, with that, especially in the Christian community, comes judgement. Which is unfortunate ... we're supposed to be known by our love for one another - not judgmental, condemning attitudes.
So I considered myself, so often the "edgy" one with a testimony among my circles of Christian friends, to be pretty avoidant of such a practice as judging others.
Brother James pointedly corrected that. In "Mercy Triumphs" by Beth Moore, she announced last week on page 146 that the Greek term for "slander" also means "criticize."
I think at times all I've done is spoken something that was true, but that was criticism. I don't go around town speaking these truths, but I certainly have spoken them in our home to my husband. Repeatedly. When I feel wronged or hurt, my heart wants to sort it all out. Figure out what went wrong. Practice discernment.
Heaven forbid, I even have gone so far as to speculate the motivations behind wrongdoing. No no no no no. Jeremiah 17:10 says "I, THE LORD" not "you, Amanda." Even if my keen forensic mind can figure out why someone did or said something, I can never know for certain because there is no way for me to know someone else's heart.
While discernment is a form of wisdom, in my search for it I need to keep from crossing that thin line into criticism. Discerning something is true may also mean discerning that it doesn't need to be repeated.
When I judge, criticize, and repeat transgressions ... I'm also not trusting God. He will protect me, even when I am hurt or others slander me ... it is not mine to return the favor.
The loving thing to do is let it go and trust that He will take care of what, if anything, needs to be done. My job is to extend mercy and love even when the world would say someone doesn't deserve it.
As if we needed another reason to remove ourselves from the position of mini-judge, Jesus Himself teaches in Matthew 7:1-2 ... when I take it upon myself to judge others, I am setting the standard by which I myself will be judged. Lets be really lenient, shall we?
Whoa. I kinda need a lot of mercy. So I better get to giving mercy. Even in the privacy of my home. Perhaps especially in the privacy of my heart.