I apologize for not blogging last week. My schedule for Father’s Day weekend was overstuffed, and I had to choose between blogging and sleeping. Here’s hoping I can get back on track this week.
God has been teaching me a particularly painful lesson over the past few weeks that I hope you can learn by reading about it rather than have to learn it on a “field trip” (as Beth Moore puts it) as I have. It’s a lesson about grace and why Jesus told us never to judge other people. I am learning this lesson by being on the receiving end of being judged during a particularly vulnerable season that most people simply cannot relate to. It’s one thing to be judged when you are being intentionally obstinate. However, when you are judged in weakness, vulnerability, hurt, and brokenness, the lack of grace heaped on top of that vulnerable season can seem unbearable.
Casting Crowns has a great line in the song, Jesus, Friend of Sinners:
Nobody knows what we’re for, only what we’re against, when we judge the wounded.”
And you know what? We’re ALL wounded. Your wounds might looks quite different from mine. In fact, your area of wounding might be in an area that’s a strength for me. When I judge you in the area of your deepest wounding, I can compound what’s already painful for you as I heap judgment upon you rather than grace. Not only do I squander an opportunity to saturate your wounds with God’s loving grace, but I actually rub salt into them, which can lead you to question whether you even have a place in the family of God. After all, we expect judgment from the world as “peculiar people,” but judgment from others in the Body of Christ can actually deepen the wound, that’s what I have been experiencing on this “field trip.”
Joyce Meyer recently preached on Ps. 105:18, which literally says that iron entered Joseph’s soul when he was enslaved and imprisoned in Egypt. If that makes no sense to you, thank God for sparing you that experience. Sadly, many of us know the pain of experiencing something so traumatizing that we cannot find the words to express the agony of iron entering the soul – words do not exist that can communicate the depth of your pain to someone who has not walked in your shoes. Judging someone with iron in his or her soul exacerbates the pain in ways you cannot possibly imagine if you have not experienced it yourself. I hope that you never do.
To be continued…
[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace sitting in a judge’s chair over the word, “Judging.” Courtesy Bitmoji.]
Continued from here.
In my last blog entry, I shared that I keep a journal (as recommended by Priscilla Shirer) in which I write down helpful tips for keeping the faith. Here’s what I added to help me the next time I am sick and having trouble standing my ground in my faith:
WHEN YOU ARE SICK:
Satan knows this is your Achilles’ heel. He is powerful but has no authority over you. He will try to deceive you that you cannot access God’s joy because you are sick – cannot sing praise & worship or go to church or Bible study. THIS IS A LIE!
God is inside you, and He IS joy, so you have access to unlimited joy at all times, even when you are sick.
Humble yourself. Satan will tempt you to grow larger – to become full of yourself because you feel sick. GROW SMALLER. The Kingdom of Heaven is within you. Grow smaller to access joy, peace, and contentment, even when you are sick.
Fight back: It is written…
- Greater is the one who is in me than he that is in the world. ~ I John 4:4
- No weapon forged against me will prevail. ~ Is. 54:17
- In this world, I will have trouble. But take heart! Jesus has overcome the world. ~ John 16:33
This is a test! You are being tested in preparation for being promoted.
GOD IS BIGGER.
Satan is lying to you. DO NOT BE DECEIVED. He has no power over you. The grave is empty. He is a defeated foe.
This season is temporary and WILL END. God is with you. Satan has no power over you. The grave is EMPTY! Big tests come before big promotions. You are surrounded by songs of deliverance.
The next time I am sick, I will read the notes I wrote to myself so I will remember how to fight back. And then, perhaps the juice that comes out of the squeezed fruit will be sweeter.
[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace on a sticky note with the words, “Cheer up” and a smiley face. Courtesy Bitmoji.]
Continued from here.
I wish I could say things got better after Day 11, but they didn’t. Day 12 put me completely over the edge when my teenage son was diagnosed with the flu. I did not handle that information well.
On her TV show, Enjoying Everyday Life, Joyce Meyer talks about how we don’t know what’s inside a fruit until it is squeezed. The fruit might look good from the outside, but it’s only when you squeeze it that you learn whether that fruit contains sweet or bitter juice. Let’s just say that the juice that came out of me on Day 12 was not sweet.
I don’t know why battling illness is such a trigger for me, only that it is. I am grateful that God understands why I react the way I do and is not perplexed by it. Perhaps you are like my son and go with the flow when you are physically ill. If so, you likely have something else – some other life event – that shakes you up and squeezes out juice that isn’t sweet. Regardless of what your Achilles’ heel is, you can rest assured that Satan knows what it is and will squeeze you at just the right time to get the worst possible reaction out of you. When that happens, here’s what you need to remember…
God already knows what’s going to come out of you when life squeezes you, and He loves you, anyhow. One reason He allows us to be squeezed is so we can become aware of areas in which we need work. He also allows these painful seasons to provide us with opportunities to grow. If I had not gone through that horrible day, I never would have known that God and I still had more work to do in that area.
One thing that helped me get back on track was reading my journal. In one of her Bible studies, Priscilla Shirer recommended writing down the things that God teaches you in a journal so you don’t have to keep “relearning” the same things. I have been doing this for over a year, and this offered me a lifeline when I thought I was going to lose my mind on Day 11. As I read through my journal, I remembered various ways to fight back and find my footing on God’s solid rock. Later, when I was in a calmer place, I added information to read the next time I am sick so I don’t have to start from scratch. I’ll share that information in tomorrow’s blog entry.
[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace’s head on a pillow under the words, “I’m sick.” Courtesy Bitmoji.]