Recipe for an Overflowing Life

‘Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.’

(Luke 6:36-38, NIV)

Doctors today amaze me. Your knees stop working? They replace them! Bad hip? No problem, they’ve got an operation for that.

Personally, I’m waiting until they start brain replacement surgery. Mine’s about used up. I told my wife that we were going to have to work together because I’ve only got half a brain left and she’s got a half left also. It seems that one half brain plus another half brain would equal a whole brain. No, it’s still just a half.

A halfwit plus a halfwit doesn’t equal a wholewit. It equals a nitwit.

Actually we are heading in the direction of artificial brains. Today we have AI–artificial intelligence (or artificial ignorance). Love those shows where you see a room from a robot’s point of view. Someone enters and you hear a mechancial sound as the little machine zeros in on the person. “White male. Late 60’s. Needs to lose ten pounds. Kind of goofy looking.” Then a death ray zings out from the robot and fries the poor guy, followed by a mechanical voice which announces, “Threat terminated.”

We’re all a bit like that robot.

Threat Terminated

We constantly judge and evaluate others. Our judgements often reveal more about us—our values, our prejudices, our pride, our insecurity—than it does about the person we’re judging.

If we have a low opinion of other people, it may reveals one of two things: either we have a low opinion of ourselves and we’re trying to bring others down to our perceived level or we are arrogant and feel no one is as competent, smart, and good as we are.

Neither of those attitudes smell good.

The fruit of constantly judging others is being judged ourselves, both by God and others. Who can stand under that kind of scrutiny?

Whew! So, we’re little “Alice in Wonderlands”, blissfully blind, sweetly naïve to others’ faults? That might blow up in our face. We need to be honest in our evaluation of others. If someone has eaten garlic and onions, we stagger back a step or two but we keep talking. We discreetly offer them Tic Tacs.

But the kind of  judging Jesus is talking about leads to condemnation, and condemnation rings with a finality that leaves no room for mercy or for change. “I’ve judged you and you’re going to prison and you will serve out your term! You reap the results of your actions.”

Profiling

We’re constantly “profiling” others. We put beautiful people in one category and give them a head start. Homely people go to the back of the line. “He’s too white, black, red. She’s skinny, overweight, crippled, handicapped, etc.” Some of the best people I’ve ever met came wrapped funny packages (all my friends reading this immediately ask themselves, “Is he talking about me?”

Our job isn’t to judge or condemn others. Jesus has the right to judge us but He doesn’t. He prays for us and loves us incredibly. (Romans 8:34,35). The devil tries to judge and condemn us but the Lord shuts him up (Zechariah 3:1, 2)

If the Lord won’t let Satan judge and condemn my brother, who am I to do it? SELAH (pause and think about that!). If we’re looking for imperfection we will find it. If we’re looking for God’s fruit in His children we will find it.

How do we act towards our less-than-perfect brother then? We know how he is and we love him. Just as God’s Spirit fills us and fuels spiritual gifts in our life, so He fuels love for others in us.

Love Sees the Invisible

Judgment and condemnation see my brother’s condition as final. Love sees him in the process of changing and becoming what God created him to be, even when we have to squint to see the signs of God’s glory in him. (2 Corinthians 3:18)

God’s love filling our heart—

Is patient and kind.

Is not proud (judgment and condemnation often slink out of a proud heart).

Love doesn’t envy (could this be a motive for condemning others?)

Love doesn’t boast, isn’t proud (we don’t think we are the only ones who have it all figured out).

It isn’t rude (to our wife, husband or kids either)

It is not self-seeking, not easy angered, keeps no record of wrongs.

Love doesn’t delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

It always protects.

Love always trusts, always hopes … whoa! Wait a minute! Love sees its brother, not as a criminal to be condemned and sentenced but as God’s work in process. We keep expecting change because we’re praying for it, loving them towards it, hanging in there. We refuse to commit them to the prison of our mind. We’re for them and we’re anticipating growth.

            Love always perseveres. (It never quits hoping, never quits wanting the best for that person. Never surrenders to a desire for revenge).

(from 1 Corinthians 13, NIV)

“Oh, Lord, make me that man by your Spirit. I’m not there yet, so please be patient with me.”

Here is a question for you. Who is the person(s) you know who lives the most like that? I thought of several, none perfect mind you, but people who believe in others and help them grow by their prayers, their example, and their encouragement. Tell me a little about this person.

“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults—unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don’t condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you’ll find life a lot easier. Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.”

(Luke 6: 36, 37, MSG)

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