Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~Judge Not…~ October 28, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 7:12 am
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Have you ever met someone who felt they’d “earned” the right to judge another?

Perhaps they were done a serious injustice by this person whom they are quick to criticize that leads them to believe it’s perfectly acceptable to cast judgment for all of eternity. Perhaps you tend to agree with them. After all, the act that brought the onslaught of criticism was pretty detestable so the very least the victim deserves is a lifetime of scoffing and gossiping as some sort of payment for what this person put them through. Sounds reasonable, especially if you have found yourself fighting the same emotions. They hurt you so aren’t you entitled to scrutinize every little thing they’ve ever done wrong in their past? And that’s not near enough punishment for their crime so every future blunder should be fair game too, right?

Wrong.

“Well,” you may be saying, “what terrible people you have been talking about!” But wait a minute! You are just as bad. When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are talking about yourselves, for you do these very same things. And we know that God, in justice, will punish anyone who does such things as these. Do you think that God will judge and condemn others for doing them and overlook you when you do them, too? Don’t you realize how patient he is being with you? Or don’t you care? Can’t you see that he has been waiting all this time without punishing you, to give you time to turn from your sin? His kindness is meant to lead you to repentance. (Romans 2:1-4 TLB)

You and I are neither judge nor jury. Given the fact that every one us has fallen short, caused others pain & outright sinned, we have no authority to cast that stone at another human being. How can we effectively deliver a sentence when we ourselves have been in the “guilty as charged” seat?

It pains me to see so many people walking around dying inside, suffering from emotional distress, because they can’t let go of bitterness and rage that scarred their hearts. I am in no way saying that feelings of resentment, anger & the like are unjustified. In most cases, deep wounds are in place because of an abuse of trust. What I am proposing is that those hurts are not your ticket to forever shame the offender. Feelings are not sinful, it’s how we react as a result of those feelings that leads us astray

I get it. It feels good, in a twisted sort of way, to despise the one who caused you immense pain, or worse than that, hurt your family. I’ve been on the giving end of a hate-filled glare….but I’ve also been on the receiving end and THAT is why I try to check myself before delivering a hardening stare in anyone’s direction.

There is much freedom to be found when we forgive those who’ve trespassed against us and it opens the door for us to receive the same grace and forgiveness for our own trespasses.

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~Condemnation vs. Conviction~ March 17, 2014

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1 KJV)

I would venture to say that nearly every Christian has allowed themselves to feel condemned at some point in their spiritual walk.  I know that when I have failed miserably, I have a tendency to be insanely hard on myself.  In my mind, I would rationalize that the only way for me to be truly forgiven of my sin was to punish myself relentlessly, then God would see that I was truly sorry for my transgression and accept my request for forgiveness.

It wasn’t until quite recently that I realized just how wrong I was in my twisted thought process.  I am currently reading “What Happens When Women Say Yes to God” by Lysa TerKeurst and it has been wrecking my world, but in a good way!  In her chapter that covers the obstacles that keep us from saying yes to God, she talks about the ever-so-subtle battle between the voices in her head that bring conviction and condemnation.  Her logic is simple: the voice of condemnation comes from Satan because the Bible tells us flat out that Jesus doesn’t condemn but convict.

Condemnation leaves us feeling hopeless and worthless.  Conviction invites us to make positive changes in our lives. -Lysa TerKeurst

The definition of condemnation is a punishment or sentencing and that is precisely what you are doing when you condemn yourself or others.  The trouble with that is the Word makes it clear that we are not the judge or the jury, but “God alone, who gave the law, is the Judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor?” (James 4:12)  We have no authority to dole out punishment, not even to ourselves.

Conviction, however, is the work of the Holy Spirit.  It is that nudge you feel in your heart when you think of sinning or comes once you’ve already slipped.  Conviction is what reveals the sin in our life and causes us to repent and seek forgiveness.  Without it, how would know what is separating us from God and therefor preventing us from receiving all that He has for us?  Conviction is a gentle correction, comparable to that which a loving parent gives their child when they misstep.  It is meant to better us, shape us and mold us into the absolute best version of ourselves we can possibly be.

It is time that we lift the sentencing we’ve placed on our lives over past mistakes that we’ve repented of.  Let us embrace the love and forgiveness that conviction brings so that we can move beyond our failures and live as the conquerors that Jesus says we are.live victorious