Judging

Thoughts

When we evaluate people, we evaluate them on what we have experienced.  Therefore, our evaluations are ALWAYS limited to some degree.  If you were to look at my mistakes and judge them based on your experience, my mistakes may appear catastrophic!   But if you were to compare my mistakes today to my mistakes from 15 years ago, you would be astonished at my growth!  Therefore evaluations are always relative.  And that is where perspective plays such a huge role in our judgments.  We seem to always be praising the idea of not judging one another until it doesn’t make sense to us.  Then judging seems the right thing to do.  I get it.  I do it too.  But I’m trying my best to understand that just because I don’t understand someone’s actions doesn’t mean I have the right to judge them but to try my best to give them understanding, forgiveness, compassion and kindness. 

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His Love Never Fails

Poetry

Grateful no matter where I go

You’re with me

No matter what stage, what season

You are there

Running into Your arms

I see all You teach me

Through these storms

My stubbornness gets shattered

My treasures all tattered

My humility is deepened

My sins are forgiven

Because …

“Your Love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me.”

(One Thing Remains)

Romans 8:38-39

38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[b] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord

You Say

Poetry

My shame tries to claim me

Tries to define and name me

But You have something

different to say

You say I’m a child of God

My past tries to haunt me

Tries to destroy and taunt me

But You have something

Different to say

That I am forgiven and loved

Not chained to my sin

But to Your presence within

I am free to let go and grow

Galatians 3:26

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith,

Messy Life

Poetry

 When things got tough and my dreams were taken away, I ran away from You.

When I felt Your hand convicting my heart, I threw my anger at You.

When my world gets mixed up and my vision disappears,

I fumble in the darkness scared to face You to ask for forgiveness again.

Especially when I can’t seem to get rid of my sin.

But You keep calling me. You keep calling me home.

I don’t even know where to start so You help me to pour out my heart.

By this time, there are so many dark corners I’ve hidden.

The messes were piled up too high.

Moment by moment You chipped them away

And overflowed Your grace on me.

It’s alright to feel the heaviness of wanting to live right for You.

In my desperation, I saw how many things are impossible for me to do.

But there You were again, offering Your help to me.

Your power to take away my sin.

Your love to see me through.

Your friendship because You’re the best friend I have.

Your Spirit to make me more like You.

He Knows & Provides

Poetry

You know who’s hurting

You know each one’s needs

You know who’s heart is hardened

You know who needs some peace

Matthew 5:45-46

“…He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you only love those who love you, what reward will you get? …”

Seeking Peace

Poetry

Romans 12:18

“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”  

We are only responsible for half of this equation but we are responsible for 100% of our half.

So seek peace

Seek it with all you have

Chase it through every door

Love boldly

Forgive freely

And then keep forgiving more

John 13:35
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

He Goes Before Us

Poetry

He greets me with no judgement

But a nudge and a call to what’s right

He watches and waits patiently

As I work through the trials in my life
Deuteronomy 31:8
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

Being Mean

Poetry

This morning on the way to school, my 4 year old said “sometimes Caleb (his 7 yr old brother) is mean to me. So sometimes will you be mean to him too?”  I laughed a little on the inside thinking “of course I won’t be mean to your brother because he was mean to you. He’s my son too.”  

Then I wondered if that’s how it sounds to God when we wish He would “repay” the wrongs done to us. He hears us, gently smiles, understands why we feel that way but then reminds us that the person who hurt us is His child too.  And instead of “being mean to them”, He disciplines out of love and infinite wisdom, knowing exactly what each of us needs.  He provides mercy upon mercy just as He has done for me…. and for that, I am extremely grateful.

In the broken, In the silence

I sit and wait

Your hand is at work
I watch and pray
I give You the pieces
I trust what You say

Leave It

Poetry

I am too imperfect to make judgement calls. I do not have the all seeing, all knowing wisdom that God sees with. My perspective is limited, narrow and self-centered. Therefore I leave the judgement calls to Him. 

Be still and know that I am God

I am working all things for your good

I am merciful, gracious and kind

Do not judge others, vengeance is mine

Romans 12:19
Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the LORD.
Jonah 4:2

…I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people.

Son of Man

Poetry

He came to me again  

He showed me His hand

in the things I’ve been experiencing

He helped me understand  

He loves, He frees,

He relentlessly loves.

He heals me

He is bound to no man.  He is subject to no law.  

He destroys boundaries, He is above it all.  

Revelation 1:14-18

The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.”

On Forgiveness

Poetry

There’s something in my way

And I think I know what it is

As much as I love the idea

I really don’t want to forgive

Forgiving feels impossible

To my injured pride and heart

But maybe You will help me

It’s at least a good place to start

Lord take my injuries

My offenses and pain

Hold them with You on the cross

Where You already took our blame

And the pain I’ve caused others

Hold it there with You

You truly forgave me

Now help me to do that too

Show us how to love like You

Matthew 18:21-22
21Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

22Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

Fighting for the Underdog

Poetry

Ugh, brokenness

It’s all around

Inside, outside

Upside down

She’s wrong, he’s right

Whoever you hear first

May pull you

To their side of the fight

But don’t rush in

Everyone has a side

Each their own perspective

Not 100% wrong or right

Look at every angle

Seek to understand

For tomorrow, it might be you

In their place, needing a hand

No, it’s not that simple

There’s real hurt, there’s pain

But let’s try not to add to it

Seek to forgive, not to blame

Proverbs 18:17
In a lawsuit the first to speak seems right, until someone comes forward and cross-examines.

Spiritual Misfit

Poetry

I feel like a spiritual misfit because I refuse to conform

I don’t want to look like everyone else or be the norm

 

I like to dine with sinners and with them feel most at ease

I don’t want to reject or condemn, judging steals my peace

 

I don’t want to walk the walk and talk the talk to belong to our church club

I just want to know Jesus and let that be enough.

The “spiritual misfit” phrase I stole from Brant Hansen.  He invited people to send him their ideas on the topic so this is the poem I wrote in response to that.  (Want to make sure I give him credit for the phrase/idea and inspiration for the poem!)

Humility

Poetry

I am frozen by Your love

Unable to speak or move

When my heart sees

The complexity and truth of You

 

And when I ask You

How it is I’m able to see

You say it’s all my weaknesses

That opened the door for me

 

If I was strong and proud

If I had it all together

I would go about life on my own

And wouldn’t need my Savior

 

But I’m in a weak frame  

And while my past He won’t condone

He still lovingly responds

He who is without sin, throw the first stone

 

1 Corinthians 1:27

But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.

John 8:7

When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Matthew 13:15-16

15 …and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn, and I would heal them.’ 16 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear… 

 

Confession

Poetry

And then I saw my anger

It was hiding underneath

Mad at injustices, mistreatments

Mad at anything causing grief

Blaming others 

for things I myself do

Really not wanting 

to see the whole truth
Could it be I am guilty too

Of missteps and selfishness

That I’ve deceived myself

By my own self righteousness
Yes it’s been made clear

So I must now confess

I have played a major role

In contributing to my own mess

1 John 1:9

“But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong.”

Pride

Poetry

I just started reading a new book that I already am in love with.  “Unoffendable” by Brant Hansen.  There are several things I’d love to quote already just from the first chapter.  But, I will try not to quote the whole book.  🙂  What I’m writing here is not something I’m preaching to others but something I’m being convicted of myself.  Our pride/ego is a tricky thing.  It has it’s purpose and place but sure knows how to sneak in all the wrong places too.  First my poem, then quotes from the book:

Pride

We need it

And love it

We despise it

And accuse it

When it’s inflated

We feel like a king

When it’s injured

We feel the sting

It is just one piece

And not the whole

So forgive the injury

And let your pride go

 

And now from “Unoffendable”

“We won’t often admit this, but we like being angry.  We don’t like what caused the anger, to be sure; we just like thinking we’ve “got” something on someone.  So-and-so did something wrong, sometimes horribly wrong, and anger offers us a sense of moral superiority.”

And I love this next one,

“I’m me.  I tend to side with me.  My arguments are amazingly convincing to me.”

And finally,

“Anger is extraordinarily easy.  It’s our default setting.  Love is very difficult.  Love is a miracle.”

 

 

Love Like That

Poetry

I know many doubt You are real

I have my doubts too

But when I see something so much bigger than me

I have to believe it is You.
It’s easy to wonder if You really care

When so many things go wrong

But in the midst of troubles I feel Your embrace

And my faith again is made strong
I certainly don’t have all the answers

My faith still wavers from day to day

But You seem to keep showing up

Over and over again proving Your love and grace.

 

Some may say Your kindness is a weakness

Showing such love after You’ve been rejected many times

But You don’t care. You love with abandon.

Letting nothing keep You from this heart of mine.

 

I want to love like that.

For Our Good

Poetry

There are certain lessons lost

When walking in the shade

But those learned when scorched

Are quickly not to fade

I wish I could learn 

Just as well on easy days

But my stubborn heart says no 

I will always find another way

I’m so glad You are stronger

Than my resistance, my pain

That You will use all this time

Still for my growth and gain.

Romans 8:28
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

He is Sufficient

Poetry

Sometimes all you want to do is fix it.  You want relationships to mend, illnesses to heal and circumstances to change.  You want a miracle.  But a miracle doesn’t come, the relationship doesn’t mend and the illness doesn’t heal.  And you are left in the wake of unwanted circumstances that seem to have no chance of recovery and your footsteps are heavy as you walk and wait for an answer.  And the Lord says these are the times His grace is sufficient.

My grace is sufficient in your pain

My grace is sufficient in death

My grace is sufficient in your weakness

My grace is sufficient in brokenness.

My purpose for you will still be accomplished

although it doesn’t look the way you think it should

My purpose will supersede your desires

I’ll work this all out for your good.

Proverbs 3:5-6

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.”

 

His Heart

Poetry

You’ve shown me your heart

Your desire for each one

Your love for each person

No matter what we’ve done

You’ve shown me your intent

You always seek our good

You never intend us harm

Yet You’re still misunderstood

Maybe past hurts and our pain

Cause us to question your ways

But You are still there loving us

And desiring a relationship always.

You’ve shown me Your heart

The lengths to which You go

To prove your love and affection

Yet we still turn and say no. 

2 Thessalonians 3:5 

“May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ.”