There are times to “judge” meaning decide between, and times to trust, believe, and support people. When Jesus said “Do not judge, lest you be judged,” I think he meant to give people the benefit of the doubt when they’re going through hard times. Like my friend who, after a long time of effort, finally decided to leave her husband. I don’t judge her for that because, like I said, I believe God showed me how hard she had tried to save her marriage.
There are certain times when we need to “judge.” Recently, another friend told me of her pastor’s decision to divorce his wife based on his belief God had told him to. God wouldn’t say that. The only time I believe God would ever “tell” anyone to divorce their spouse is if there’s abuse. If there’s infidelity, that can be forgiven, unless it would be chronic, then it would be the decision of the spouse. I don’t “judge” the pastor, but I believe he’s in a lot of trouble in more ways than one. My friend is right in taking herself out from under his spiritual authority. This wasn’t the first time she’d thought of leaving that church. She has a great deal of mercy, and gave that pastor a second chance. Now she has left for good. I support her in that decision.
Another acquaintance, a rather young one, recently nearly got fired from her job. I don’t judge her, but she evidently didn’t realize there would negative responses to her actions in a derogatory social media post about her employer. To give her the benefit of the doubt, I don’t think she knew what she was doing, or how it would look. My husband and I discussed this for a long time that evening. In the end, she kept her job, learned a hard lesson (I hope), and will think about the possible consequences before she posts next time she might think she’s frustrated with anything pertaining to her job. I think she’s very fortunate to remain at work.
Another person comes to mind, a childhood friend with whom I am no longer close. She’s had a very hard and difficult life. She was the baby of the family; her older siblings were all so much older than her, teenagers at the time of her birth. Her father died when she was young, and her mother had to work full-time to support them. We crossed paths in junior high for about two years, until she moved halfway across the country. We kept up a correspondence for about ten more years. Because of her lack of a father figure, she went wild in high school, somewhat promiscuous. She ended up pregnant. A man she knew who was somewhat older than her, but not the baby’s father, offered to marry her. She of course, jumped at the chance. That marriage lasted a long time and produced probably five more children.
But…the time between her letters grew more and more. I’d write her, and not hear from her for many months. Then, I’d write again. Then I would get a letter. She would tell me she never got my first letter. Now if this had only happened once, I wouldn’t have gotten suspicious. But it happened a few times, where somehow, my letter was lost. And with things she shared about her life, it made me think he was a controller. Controlling husbands don’t like anyone in relationship with their wives. It’s not healthy. A few years ago, she finally divorced him. He died within a couple years.
But that wasn’t the end of her troubles. I haven’t even seen her since 1983, so I can’t say what kind of person she is. We somehow reconnected for a short time about five years ago. I found her entirely different, and I’m sure she found me that way, too. We had really nothing in common anymore. Our lives were totally different. I’m not judging her, only sharing her story in the hopes to inspire all of us to find ways to support people. She’ll always have my moral support.
Not on my soapbox today, only sharing with you my feelings about people and situations. What about you? Do you have trouble supporting people who don’t live up to your expectations? Leave a comment and let me know.