Monday, February 10, 2014

Exorcizing a Judgmental Spirit (PrayerLife)

My back yard

One of the things I have noticed God doing in me, over many years of spending time praying and dwelling in Christ, is exorcizing a judgmental spirit. I am not totally free from this yet. But I find myself wanting this freedom from judgmentalism more and more, because it increasingly seems and feels burdensome to me. It is a heavy burden to feel oneself God-appointed as judge of the world. I could lie awake at night feeling resentful towards the failures of others. Or, I could be released from taking these on and sleep, knowing that God is Judge.

Henri Nouwen writes: "If I am rooted in my own spirit and comfortable in my own body, I will be less judgmental." (Nouwen, Spiritual Formation: Following the Movements of the Spirit, p. 96). Jesus said "Judge not, that you be not judged." (Matthew 7:1) There is something about a judgmental heart that backfires, exploding onto one's own soul. Point your big critical guns at others and you also wound yourself.

Are we allowed to make judgments? Yes. Every statement that comes out of our mouth does this. That's different from critical judgmentalism. In Christ we are free, but we are not to say, "Praise God, I am free to critique others!"

As God morphs our heart more and more into a Christ-shape, He removes the critiqueing thing. We leave that to God, thus removing the terrible burden of having to change the hearts of others.

Nouwen writes:

"Judging others is a heavy load; why not let it go? Being judged by others is a relatively light load; why worry about it? Often I have asked myself: What would it be like if I no longer had any desire to judge another? Or be controlled by the judgments of others? I would walk on the earth as a very light person indeed! To come to that inner place of not judging in the face of the enormous variety of human experience and expressions is a long road of faith. To overcome that constant need to determine my comparative place, and to be simply who I am, can make me whole. To finally let go of that burden is one of the greatest joys and freedoms in life." (Ib., p. 97)

Pray to be set free from a judgmental heart.