I still remember the words as if they were spoken yesterday:
“I used to think you were stuck-up. But then I got to know you and you’re actually really nice!”
Backhanded compliment for the #win.
The problem is I have heard that phrase more than I care to acknowledge. A heavy weight was lifted off someone’s chest through their confession to me, about me. They judged me before they knew me and I was somehow supposed to be happy they finally came to their senses? Thank you, I guess.
Their words left me heavy with my own judgement:
There must be something wrong with me.
That was only the tip of the iceberg. I carried piles of pain caused by women. It is only in the past few years that God has healed me from my past wounds. Backstabbing, gossiping, stealing- you name it, I’ve been on the receiving end. It almost kept me from teaching and leading women, the very thing God created me to do.
The great tactic of the enemy is to keep us from our true identity.
Judgement can make or break relationships before they start — a pre-conceived notion, an imaginary hurt — all fire starters. We like to create our own truths that have nothing to do with reality. We love to label people, placing them in their appropriate boxes, never breeching the truth of who they truly are. We think it makes life easier.
Single? Not godly enough.
It is easy to label “those people,” isn’t it? These labels are given to us by the world, our parents, or our own personal experiences. We use them to lay a giant blanket of condemnation over everyone and call it a day. I won’t mess with your walls if you won’t mess with mine.
But Jesus has a better way. He asks us to love our others as we love ourselves. How can we do that if we are trying to love with a broken heart? We must heal so we can love others the way Jesus does and part of our healing is forgiving others for the hateful things they said, real or imagined.
What if, for the next two weeks, we open up to hear the truth of someone else’s story? Maybe it’s a person we would typically label. Would we listen? Could we lay aside our differences and our past experiences, open to hear their point of view? With all our quirks and glorious individualities, one could believe for a moment that maybe God created us to reflect him as an array of colors and personalities, none better than the other.
As we prepare for #theFives starting April 17th, let’s unite to break down barriers and jump over judgements. Starting Monday we will feature a different woman each day as she shares the most vulnerable nooks and crannies of her heart to all of you. On our blog she will confess the labels she has worn and what it really looks like to be her friend.
Won’t you join us?
Because we all get by with a little help from our friends.
PS- #theFives is for dudes, too. Sign-up today through April 7th to follow stories of men in the Bible who inspire us to lead the way God calls you!