No Offense…

I’ve been thinking recently about assuming the best in people, about seeing each other as God sees us.

Maybe you make a mistake, and a friend chooses to give you the benefit of the doubt. They recognize it was a one-time thing, or take the time to step into your shoes and your circumstances. They refuse to take your actions personally.

Do you have people like that in your life?

People who know your mistakes don’t define you? People who understand that your heart matters?

And sometimes it isn’t even a mistake! Maybe you just can’t call back because you’re putting the kids to bed, or you say something awkward when you’re still getting to know someone (πŸ™‹πŸ½β€β™€οΈπŸ™‹πŸ½β€β™€οΈπŸ™‹πŸ½β€β™€οΈ).

Whatever the circumstances, I often find that the people who shine the brightest in my life don’t take offense where none is intended. They are patient and loving with me.

The Golden Rule

Shouldn’t I extend the same courtesy to others?

Honestly, I struggle with judgmental tendencies, but I’ve discovered that when I judge, it usually has more to do with me, than with my neighbor.

For example, if I’m feeling insecure about a friendship, I might judge my neighbor for not investing “enough”, or for failing to communicate some way other than “my way”.

Isn’t it ironic how that is more a reflection on me than on anything else?

In fact, I heard a story once that goes something like this:

A young couple had recently settled into their new neighborhood when, to the wife’s chagrin she looked out the window at her neighbor’s wash and exclaimed, “What dirty clothes!”

Her husband noticed her remark, but kept quiet. Yet, each time laundry day rolled around, his wife would shake her head in disappointment.

One morning, she was happily surprised to notice her neighbor’s wash was finally properly cleaned. She gasped to her husband, “Can you believe it?! Our neighbor has finally learned how to clean her clothes.”

Her husband replied, “Actually, dear, I woke up this morning and washed our windows.”

Do you ever find yourself looking through a dirty window? What if, instead, you chose humility? Gratitude? Enoughness? Love? What if you chose to assume the best?

When you choose to see the best in others:

  • You make friends. People want to be around you!
  • You worry less about what people think.
  • You grow closer to Jesus, and you learn how to feel His love.
  • You allow yourself to see the full picture before your emotions get the better of you.
  • You exercise your agency in a way that opens up more options, rather than limiting them.
  • You understand your individual identity, and grow more secure in who you are.
  • You become the kind of person that others want to see the best in, too.

Worth it πŸ™ŒπŸΎ.

But, what if offense is intended?

Let’s be clear. You have the right to remove yourself from situations that feel physically or emotionally unsafe, or even just not right for you.

But that doesn’t mean you have the right to look down upon another human being.

We are all broken.

Paul taught:

For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living. But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

Romans 14: 9-10 (KJV)

And, when confronted with the woman taken in adultery, Jesus taught:

He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

John 8: 6

And He taught again:

For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

Matthew 7: 2

AND AGAIN:

Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Matthew 22: 36-40

So, perhaps, it isn’t black and white.

How do you exercise “righteous judgment”, while leaving the justice up to God?

I’ve often pondered this question. Personally, I’ve found it to be a matter of prayer rather than a step-by-step approach, but I would value your opinion πŸ‘‡πŸΎ.

In the meantime, here’s to having the courage to find those answers, and to love our neighbors well.

❀ Jenny

14 thoughts on “No Offense…

  1. I honestly feel like a cliche theological student when I post long comments but I’ll just “judge” you instead (jk, jk!) for posting about an interesting subject 😁

    Righteous judgment comes down to learners and teachers. Those who are learning are bound to make mistakes at times. Who doesn’t? Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians contained many course corrections for them (the man and his mother-in-law, the abuse of the Lord’s Supper, etc). Yet he issued stern warnings that if the man did not straighten up, he was not to be welcomed back. With the Lord’s Supper, he said those taking it wrong were doing so to their judgment. We don’t know what’s in a person’s heart. God alone does. As Christians, there are certain outward acts that go against God’s word that we can make judgments on. Paul’s words to Timothy are most helpful to Christians concerning learners: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

    False teachers are another story. The Bible says to mark them and avoid them (Romans 16:17). There is no fellowship between darkness and light as Paul wrote in the second letter to Corinth. There are other instances in the epistles that say to “test the spirits” (1 John 4), “be sober, be vigilant” (1 Peter 5:8-11), “reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned” (Titus 3:10-11), and so on (there are several more.) Jesus Himself said not to give “what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine” (Matthew 7). That was right after He said not to judge. That was before telling them to remove the plank from their own eye to see the speck in their brother’s eye. In other words, judging is not forbidden but you are judged by the same standards. Going back to Paul’s words to Timothy about Scripture, it’s plain to see that there is a proper guide to such course correction. Teach those who will learn, avoid those who teach falsely.

    You’re right that prayer is the best start (God always hears and answers those prayers). Your article also brings up the point that we are all broken. Excellent point! Jesus was NOT but was broken in our place on the cross. Where we fall flat (namely, in every respect), He excelled. The ultimate judgment was put on Him for the sake of all people. Those words of Paul to Timothy ring true again because Scripture tells everyone clearly about Jesus (1 Corinthians 15).

    Interesting article!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words and your insights, friend 😊. I love how you point out the distinction between learners and teachers. That’s something I can see, but hadn’t thought of yet!

      And I especially love your words regarding Jesus’ atoning grace. I’m grateful He has that power to make up for where I and others lack ❀️.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. πŸ˜ƒ the story!! Another beautifully inspiring post. I wouldn’t want people to judge me by my bad day so I would prefer not to do that to someone either. But yes it’s a balance, like you said, if something gets hurtful enough, then you need to walk away from the person situation.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thanks Jenny! This is great advice. Sometimes when we judge others it’s because of our own insecurities. We have to examine our motives when speaking about others. I enjoyed the dirty window story. πŸ˜‚

    Liked by 1 person

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