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Don’t judge me!

How many times have you heard someone make this statement?

Many times the person that makes this statement may need to be corrected for some wrongdoing on his or her part. However, a misinterpretation of scripture can produce greater strife and separation than restoration and peace.

Matthew 7:1-5Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

What does it mean to judge someone?

The word judge in Matthew 7:1 is translated from the original Greek translation (Strong’s Concordance) as properly, to distinguish, i.e. decide (mentally or judicially); by implication, to try, condemn, punish:–avenge, conclude, condemn, damn, decree, determine, esteem, judge, go to (sue at the) law, ordain, call in question, sentence to, think. In order to properly judge someone, we would need to know ALL of the facts about a person or situation.

1. It is virtually impossible for a person to know everything about another person or situation. He or she would need to know another person’s thoughts, motives, heart, and reasoning. This is why there is only one true judge (2 Timothy 4:1, 6-8).

2. Judging casts a shadow of a final sentence to be pronounced on a person or situation. Now, without understanding all of the details of a person or event, we may make claims prematurely and in ignorance.

How is correcting someone different?

1. People that judge others do not seek to correct a person’s behavior or situation. These individuals simply pronounce their sentence or position on the matter and move on (after telling a few people how they feel).

2. Correction improves a person’s or situation status, standing, or position. Looking at Matthew 7:3-5, the person that sees the mote in his brother’s eye wants to assist him. This person doesn’t want to judge his brother.

3. The person wanting to correct his brother must first correct any negative behaviors, issues, and sin within him or herself (2 Corinthians 13:5). Now, this is a personal and internal action that can only be verified by that person and the Lord. When a person self-corrects, it comes with humility, conviction, and compassion. The person is free of sin and a defiling mind and heart, and is ready to properly assist his brother.

4. After a self-correction (and often chastisement from the Lord), a person is in the right mindset and position to truly help his brother.

Jesus said do not judge…He did not say do not correct.

Galatians 6:1-2 - Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

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Matthew 12:43-45When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.

1. Freedom is joyous. When you’re delivered or freed from an evil spirit or habit (i.e. pornography, smoking, drinking, etc.), you feel a great freedom and peace. The thoughts in your mind is silenced and your heart is happy. You’re full of peace and joy.

2. The spirit wants back in. At the same time, that spirit or habit wants its home back. Its physical address was you and it wants back in. The spirit is possessive and doesn’t see anyway around it. Though it returns and sees the your ‘house’ in order, it wants back in.

The spirit needs a way in. It will try some of the ‘old’ temptations and people to bring you back to your previous state in sin. In most cases, the spirit is not strong enough to return on its own. It needs you to open the door. Honestly, the spirit doesn’t need you to do all of the same things as before, it only needs one crack of the door. However, you’re now strong enough to keep that spirit away.

Ephesians 4:27Neither give place to the devil.

3. The spirit calls for backup. If the spirit can’t get back in through some of your previous acts of sin, it gets help. As Jesus says, the spirit returns with several spirits more wicked than itself. The spirit doesn’t care about what will happen to you, it just wants to return. It plans on riding you until you die anyway. It has no concern for the condition of your soul. It’s already destined for hell (the eternal lake of fire).

4. The stakes of temptation are raised. The other spirits that are brought in are more wicked and devious than the first. These other spirits will increase the level of temptation in order for you to give in. Now, you hear these evil spirits calling out through other people and situations…waiting for you to wear down, tire out, and give up from saying no.

5. The line of temptation and sin. When temptation comes, you can feel a line being drawn between you and sin. If you cross the line of temptation, you’ll return to the previous habits and sins. And if you return, it’ll be even harder to return to a ‘place’ of freedom and peace (John 5:1-15).

6. Don’t cross the line…keep fighting. In the moments of temptation, you must walk away, bind (and cast out) thoughts, unfriend people on social media, turn the television channel, and not accept the thoughts of temptation.

Keep fighting the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12). Put on the armor of God and stand your ground on the word of God and the freedom you’ve received (Ephesians 6:10-18). You don’t have to give in. You don’t have to sin. You don’t have to cross the line!

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There are times when you give someone your very best advice to help them out of a difficult situation or improve their life…but they don’t take it. No matter what you do or say, they won’t listen. You spend hours, days, weeks, and months pouring out your heart to get them to change, but to no avail. You get so frustrated that you want to give up and not waste anymore time trying to help them.

Though they may not listen to you, you can pray for them.

Prayer is never beyond the reach of those you care for and want to see happy and whole. The Lord’s hand is not too short where He cannot save nor His too ear heavy where He cannot hear (Isaiah 59:1). He can reach into the secret and private places of our hearts and minds to change our perspective and change circumstances for the better. What seems impossible for you is not impossible for God!

The next time you feel frustrated with a friend or family member…pray. No matter how much time goes by, keep praying.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 - Pray without ceasing.

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Isaiah 26:3Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

1. Life is tough. There’s so much going on around us that we feel that we are drowning without a life vest or help. We try to come up for air to take a breath from the struggles of the day, only to be pulled back into the abyss of reality. We fill stuck, trapped, and without hope. We spend our days disappointed, impatient, and frustrated. We want peace and freedom, but they seem to slip through our hands just when we think it’s in our grasp. An endless cycle of chasing peace and freedom, only to be disappointed again and again. However, there is a way to experience a perfect peace.

2. There is a ‘perfect’ peace. Isaiah was writing about those who are kept in perfect peace. When thinking about a peace that is ‘perfect,’ we can think of something that is whole and complete. Because it is perfect, it is everything we ever want, need, or desire. There are no imperfections with this peace, it will not fail us, and it can be ours.

3. The means to obtain perfect peace is trust. In order to receive a perfect peace, we must first place our trust in God. Trusting in God requires a change in our perspective of the reality of our circumstances in light of who God is. Though our situation may or may not change, our trust in God allows us to see how He can influence our minds and hearts regardless of where we are or what we have to face.

Our trust in God doesn’t mean we’ll be delivered from every bad situation or trouble. It doesn’t even mean we’ll begin to receive good things from God because we say we trust Him. We trust Him because we understand He is God. He is a deliverer. He cares for us. He has a plan greater than our current surroundings. He has given us eternal life and He wants us to understand that what He has is far greater than anything the world can provide us.

4. Trusting God takes faith. So many of us spend our years wanting to enjoy the pleasures of the world and sin. We forget that these pleasures are only temporary, yet we often spend every mental, physical, financial, and emotional available to secure a bit of the American dream and any other pleasure possible. However, in doing so, we may place ourselves further away from God’s ideal as His enemy rather than images of His children (James 4:4; 1 John 2:15-17).

When reading Hebrews 11:1-40, we read about what faith is, how those who lived by faith focused on God, and the perfect peace they obtained in spite of their trials. Regardless of their trials and tribulations, they were hoping for the eternal city which was not made by human hands (Hebrews 11:13-16).

However, when we take our eyes from God (and place them in the world), our hope diminishes. We forget about an eternal life after this, the eternal city, and we begin to focus on our current location. We allow it (and the ways of the world) to consume us rather than keeping our faith and trust in God.

5. When we trust God, we will keep our mind stayed on Him. You’ve lived long enough to know how the ways of the world attempt to suffocate every godly thought and behavior out of your life. In order to keep the world out of your mind and heart, you have to keep yourself engulfed in God.

Being engulfed in God is more than a physical location. We can spend every waking moment in church, yet be no closer to God. We’re in the right place, but it doesn’t guarantee our minds will be stayed on God. Keeping your mind stayed on God is both intentional and focused. It is a deliberate act that chooses to focus on God regardless of the trials and tribulations surrounding your life. It is a conscious decision made to fill your life and heart with God…all day, everyday.

6. God will keep us in perfect peace. Being in perfect peace can be both a feeling and a state of mind. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego refused to worship a gold image set up by the king of Babylon (Daniel 3:8-16). The king stated that whoever did not bow down and worship the image when the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery sound would be thrown into the burning fiery furnace.

When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego were brought before the king to answer for their disobedience to his decree, they stated:

“O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”

The trust of these three was in God. They were facing certain death for their refusal to worship the gold image, yet they chose to place their trust in God. They understood God was able to deliver them, but even if He did not, they would not serve the king’s gods or worship the gold image. They were kept in perfect peace.

God will keep you and allow your testimony before Him to remain strong and sure. God is able to deliver you from whatever issue you have in your life right now. But if He doesn’t, be encouraged to keep your faith and trust in Him. He loves you and desires to keep you close to His heart for an eternity. This is what He wants for you, and it’s more than the world could give you.

He can keep you in perfect peace, but it is something you must want as you first trust Him and keep your mind stayed on Him.

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Isaiah 25:1 - O Lord, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.

Isaiah makes a personal reference to His God. What he shares is not hearsay or what he learned from another person. He is declaring what he knows about God:

1. God is his God, and he will exalt and praise Him.

2. He remembers the wonderful things God has done.

3. He remembers God’s counsel is filled with faithfulness and truth.

Regardless of the test or trial in your life now, you can look over your life and think of the wonderful things God has done for you in the past:

  • He has been faithful when people were not.
  • He has been forgiving when people have not.
  • He has been a provider.
  • He has been a comforter.
  • He has brought you out of situations you never thought you’d be free from.
  • He placed you above your enemies, in spite of what they did to you.
  • He lifted you up and kept you close to His heart.

When you remember God’s love, His faithfulness, and truth, it provides you with the comfort you need to hold your head high, stand upright, and live by His standard. It gives you the energy, strength, and grace to continue on because in spite of what you see, hear, or experience, God can overcome it all.

What do you remember about God?

You will not mistreat me!

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Matthew 5:38-42Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.

1. People hate being mistreated. They want to be treated with respect at all times – to include their time, property, money, and family. They may avoid some people and treat others badly to ensure everybody knows not to mess with them. They will not be taken for a ‘fool’ or be used as anyone’s doormat. Some don’t want to deal with the drama of such relationships. However, reading Matthew 5:38-42 gives us another look on giving and how we’re to treat others.

When Jesus speaks about ‘an eye for an eye…,’ He speaks from the Law of Moses (Leviticus 24:17-21) to repay those things which are done to you or your animal. However, Jesus says that we are not to resist evil. We are to allow the evil to continue without seeking repayment or ‘revenge.’ If a person sues you and takes your coat, give him your cloak. If a person compels (forces) you to go one mile, go with him two.

A lot of people don’t want to be taken advantage of or seem like they’re weak. They want to be strong in the eyes of man, but does that ‘strength’ equate to obedience in God?! No, it doesn’t.

2. There will be a lot of people that will seek to take advantage of us. They will do this because we’re disciples of Jesus and know we’ll what the Bible says. They’ll use evert opportunity possible to take advantage of us because they can. However, this is not a reason why we should ignore them (or harden our heart).

3. Give to those that ask and want to borrow. Jesus goes on further and says that we are to give to them that ask of us and not turn away those that want to borrow from us. What happens when you’ve given to those in need and they keep wanting more? Give more…

Many times we’ll only help people when they are deemed ‘worthy’ by our standards. We’ll judge their situation and give a verdict of whether or not they should receive anything from us (Matthew 7:1-2). Sometimes our reason for not helping someone is because the requestor made bad decisions that got themselves into their situation…but is that biblical?!

For example, In Luke 10:25-37 the ‘good’ Samaritan helped a stranger without saying, ‘he shouldn’t have been down there…serves him right.’ He helped him and showed mercy on his situation. We’re to love others as ourselves and show mercy to others. This is the second greatest commandment in the history of the world (Mark 12:30-31).

4. The way to eternal life is found here. Read Matthew 5:43-48 and Luke 10:25-37. We are to:

a. love our enemies.
b. bless those that curse us.
c. do good to them that hate you.
d. pray for them that despitefully use and persecute us.
e. show mercy unto others.

Jesus says we should do this to be a child of our Father which is in heaven (Matthew 5:45). He says that our Father makes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rains on the just and unjust. As our Father even provides for those that are considered evil and unjust, we should do the same. It’s what makes us perfect as He is perfect (Matthew 5:48). God is not asking you to do anything He wouldn’t do (and has already done for you). This is what makes you His child. A child does what His Father does.

Will you obey God’s Word or your own desires?!

Psalm 37:21 (KJV)The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth.

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1. We want to run for shelter in times of trials and tribulation. There are times when the storms in our lives are so strong that we want to run for shelter. We board up our lives, cover our hearts, and silently suffer while we hope the storm will pass. Sometimes we run to others around us for help, which only makes our situation worse.

2. Where you run for shelter and help is critical. However, it’s important that we run to the Lord when we’re in need of help. He is our rock, deliver, provider, protect, sustainer, builder (and rebuilder), peace, and love. God can keep you in perfect peace and help you stand if you fell. He will forgive you long before the world would and give you an opportunity to begin again. Though aftermath from storms can be devastating and can take years to repair, when you allow God to be your refuge and help, He will help you become everything He almost intended you to be.

Psalm 91:1-16He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.

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Job 16:17-22Not for any injustice in mine hands: also my prayer is pure. O earth, cover not thou my blood, and let my cry have no place. Also now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and my record is on high. My friends scorn me: but mine eye poureth out tears unto God. O that one might plead for a man with God, as a man pleadeth for his neighbour! When a few years are come, then I shall go the way whence I shall not return.

As Job assures himself that he hasn’t committed any injustices, he looks for someone who would plead with God on his behalf rather than receive the scorn from his friends.

1. We often speak before pray…or think. Many times when our friends are struggling, in sin, or needing answers or help, we rush to share our opinion. When we rush to help, we can cause greater damage, even when we have the best intentions (Proverbs 19:2, 25:20). Therefore, it’s important that we first hear from the Lord on whether we should say or do anything. Who else better to speak with than God?!

2. Plead with God. First, take time to pray for your friend. Even if you don’t know everything your friend is going through, God does (Psalm 139:1-24). Oftentimes the greatest ‘work’ you can accomplish for another is prayer. Second, pray for guidance on what your role should be in your friend’s life. For you, this is a time of patience and calming the anxious thoughts to say or do something. You need to remain quick to listen and slow to speak (James 1:19)…no matter how badly you want to say something.

3. Remember the purpose of friendship. Each of us experience seasons of joy and sorrow. We should be with our friends in best and worst of times (Romans 12:15). Sometimes your presence alone will speak volumes above anything you can say. Don’t get caught up in what you would like to say and your own perspective on the matter. Strive to understand your friend’s perspective and how the Lord wants you to respond. (Silence is a response.)

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Genesis 9:20-27 - And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father’s nakedness. And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him. And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.

Ham’s inappropriate actions caused him and his descendants to be cursed and servants to his brethren (the descendants of Shem and Japheth).

Within the line of Ham is Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 10:19), which was destroyed due to its wickedness of the men (Genesis 13:13). Sodom and Gomorrah is used as a symbol of wickedness throughout the Bible (Matthew 11:20-24; 2 Peter 2:1-10; Jude 1:3-8). From Canaan (of Ham’s descendants), their land would be given to the Lord’s chosen, the people of Israel as their Promised Land (Genesis 12:5-7; Exodus 23:23-30).

Consider your actions and the lasting impact they can have upon your family members and those around you.

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Job 4:7-9Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent? or where were the righteous cut off? Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same. By the blast of God they perish, and by the breath of his nostrils are they consumed.

Eliphaz believed Job had committed some type of sin for so much to happen to him (Job 1:1-2:13). He couldn’t imagine that Job could be righteous in spite of all that have occurred.

Oftentimes the same occurs today when people associate good news or situations with God’s favor and the opposite as a punishment for sin. (God rains blessings on the just and unjust alike, Matthew 5:44-45). Without foreknowledge from the Lord, we have no idea why someone is experiencing a season of sorrow. Every story sounds true until we hear the other side (Proverbs 18:17).

Be careful not to judge the circumstances of others (Matthew 7:1-2). We may have no idea what the Lord is doing in the life of another (Isaiah 55:8-9).