For those of you who have been reading my blogs and/or articles for any length of time, you know I do not write unless led of God. Well, this morning ... the first time in a very long time ... I have been moved by God to share some things. I think He is very concerned and broken over a great deal in today's world, and I am sure you can more than understand the why's of that statement. When I dwell on the sins of the world ... the sins I have committed ... the sins we all commit daily whether in a relationship with Him or not, my heart hurts because I know how much we must be grieving our Heavenly Father. His heart has to be so broken over what He sees happening with His people today ... the way we intentionally hurt one another ... the way we blatantly disobey Him ... the way we put Him in a box not allowing Him to work in and through us as He so desires ... the selfish and self-centered people we have become ... the way we disrespect Him and one another ... the way we so quickly judge the actions of others. It is the judging of others He has laid on my heart this morning.
The Bible speaks quite a bit on the subject of judging but today let's focus on Matthew 7:1-2 states, "Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you." This is the verse God has spoken to me this very morning and I will now try to share what He has put on my heart.
I saw on Facebook where a parent had left a child in a hot vehicle, and by the grace of God, the child survived. It is not the first time this has happened, and sadly, it is not the last it will happen. The child does not always survive. My heart feels so constricted when I read such things, as I know yours is. We all ponder in our minds the why's, the how's, etc. We could never for the life of us phantom this happening to our family. We are decent people, and as many are so anxious to point out on Facebook, people who are able to do this do not deserve to be parents! REALLY!?? Have we become so ignorant we would be bold enough to make such a statement?
Ok, before you go off on me and rake me over the coals, I am in no way justifying this action. However, neither am I saying things which are so cruel and so wrong where I leave room for this type of judgment to be had on me. I, speaking only for me, am so guilty of many things that I pray daily for the wrath of God not to come down on me for judging others. What came to my mind when I saw the comment about not being a parent if capable of doing such a thing brought a very similar situation to my mind, and it made me cringe at what could have been.
Years ago I knew someone who did exactly what others are willing to hang this parent over doing. They were well on the way to leaving their child in a hot car ... unknowingly and unintentional. Yes, this is right ... unknowingly and unintentional. You say, "How can this be?" "How can a parent ... a decent one at least ... do such a thing? How could you be so self-centered and so self-absorbed to forget your child is in the car? How does this happen? My answer to you is, "I do not know, but it does!"
This person I am referring to is probably one of the best parents I know or will ever know. They are faith-filled and have a relationship with the Lord which I envy at times. They have strived to raise their family to believe the same. They are a good family. This same family, however, struggles in life as we all do. On this particular morning things were crazy. It felt as if the world was crashing down around them. As with each morning, they got their child together, got in the car, and commenced to driving. Their normal route would have been to drop the child off at childcare and then proceed to hit the interstate and be on their way to work. They had done this same thing over and over for a long period of time. By now it should have been so routine that they should not even had to think about it. This morning, however, would not be the same.
Once they got in the car their mind turned to all that was happening in their life and in the lives of their family. They were so overwhelmed beyond what many of us can conceive. They commenced to praying, crying, and simply trying to find some release before they had to put on their smile and walk through their day. To make a long story short, they were almost to their destination when they realized their child was still in the back seat of the car sleeping. They had forgotten to drop the child off and they were well on their way to work. They simply forgot the child was even in the back seat of the car.
I do not remember exactly what transpired at the moment of realization, but if memory does not fail me, I think they pulled off the side of the road and wept. They realized at that precise moment what could have occurred because they were so self-absorbed in what was happening around them in their daily lives. They could have very well left their child in the car when they got to work and forgot the child was in there. The child was sleeping so silently they could see this as something which could have transpired. Do you think they were afraid? They were terrified, and as they related this story to me, I could sense their fear. They were beyond themselves emotionally just at the thought of what could have happened.
I can hear you saying as you read this, "But they did not leave the child in the car. This makes a difference and goes back to how could anyone leave a child in a hot car." You are right in that they did not, but it was not their conscience that made them realize the reality of the situation ... it was not negligence ... it was not being a bad parent. It was life and the harshness of everyday reality which could have caused them to do the unthinkable. Unfortunately, they are not the only ones living in the 'harshness of everyday life' so they are not the only ones capable of doing such a horrendous act unintentionally and unknowingly.
Do they deserve to be a parent? Are they a horrible person? Do they deserve all the things which could have been said about them had things turned out differently? The answer to all these questions is, "NO!"
We are so quick to judge when we have not a clue what it is like to walk in another's shoes. Justifying the actions of others does not make it right. Understanding the actions of others does not make it go away. Loving others during times as this does not say we agree! Praying for others when they do what we feel is the unimaginable does not remove the consequences of the actions for which they have to endure. Could you imagine living with such a thing? A parent could very easily become a prisoner in their own mind after such an incident. Many do, and the last thing they need is another turning that key and locking them in even more.
It is so much easier to judge than to do what Jesus would want us to do. It only takes action to judge, but it takes thought and effort to forgive and reach out in love.
What do I suggest at a time as this? Prayer!!!! It is the only thing we can do. If we are not able to sympathize, reach out in love. Do the things Jesus would expect us to do, then pray. He understands we have questions ... He understands our anger at such injustices ... He understands our confusion. What He does not understand is our quickness at judging and striking out in anything but love? He does not justify this behavior and it is a very dangerous course of action to take. Could you imagine being judged by Him as we have so quickly judged others? It frightens me to even contemplate it! If it does not you, then you need to seek His face because something is not kosher in your walk with Him.
I have done many things in my life for which I was judged harshly, and I am so guilty of being the one doing the judging. I think at one time or another we all have been one of these persons ... the one judged or the one judging. It is true, however, that until you are on the receiving end, you do not know how cruel it can be.
I remember when my first marriage finally hit bottom. In the eyes of society and all our circle of friends ... and today I use that word 'friend's loosely ... I was the one who destroyed what appeared to be a great marriage. In all fairness and honesty, I thought it was a good marriage too. I also agreed with everyone in their assessment of me as they labeled me with a big red "X"! Yes, I had an affair which ultimately led to the destruction of my marriage. I saw my 'friends' leave me one-by-one. I saw my 'friends' judge me. I saw my 'friends' become my jury and they convicted me without any understanding or knowledge of the facts.
I could sit here now and justify my actions ... I could lay out many things which would make you sympathize with me today ... I could open a lot of eyes which were and still are shut to me, but I will not lie and say it makes what I did right because it does not. I was wrong. I sinned in a big way. I deserved my marriage to dissolve. I, however, did not deserve how I was treated ... and am still treated by many ... or judged. The judgment of others hurt me worse than the destruction of my marriage. Yet many who judged me were so guilty of similar acts and worse. For years, I allowed their thoughts, words, and actions keep me in prison to guilt until Jesus released me. Today, I look back with remorse and sadness over the demise of it all, but I also have been given more understanding of the why's which allowed me to forgive myself. Things were not as they appeared, and though again this does not justify what I did, it gave me a peace which I have today. Remember, Jesus is the only one who can give you such release from inner turmoil. When He does, you are free indeed. Seek His face today!
Please do not be so quick to judge. Do not be so anxious to convict. Do not be so willing to throw someone under the bus for what you do not understand. Yes, you can be angry ... yes, you can be confused and enraged at the injustice we see everyday, but this is all we have a right to do. We simply do not know what we do not know!
I pray this message has reached the ears for which God has intended it too. I am praying for you today even though I do not know who you are. I just know God laid this on my heart especially for someone, and if that someone is you, go to Him today! He is reaching out to you and He loves you more than you could ever comprehend. Give Him a chance to show you!