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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~Danger of Comparison~ May 21, 2013

apple_orangeWhen I first decided to start a blog, I kind of panicked a little since I am not exactly what you would call “tech-savvy.”  I thought it would be wise to check out a few others who had been blogging for some time to get a feel for how it worked.  You ever heard the expression, “ignorance is bliss”?  After perusing numerous sites, I decided blogging just might not be for me!

To say that I was intimidated would be the understatement of the century.  There was no way I could do what these people were doing.  Their sites looked professional.  Their writings were eloquent and flowed effortlessly across the screen.  My writing is mediocre at best in comparison to the masterpieces that I sat reading, dumb-founded.  Why had I ever thought I could do this?!

Just as quickly as those thoughts of comparison took my mind hostage, the Lord came back with:

“Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.”

(Galatians 6:4 NLT)

As my husband would say, “well there that is.”  I would not be writing if I didn’t feel a call from God to do so.  Why then would I allow my feelings of inadequacy to throw up a road block on a path that God has set before me?

Because I am human.

We can be our own worst enemies when it comes to criticizing our abilities.  Even when we feel like we are right where God wants us, doing exactly what He has called us to do, there is no guarantee that doubt won’t creep in and rear it’s ugly head.  This is especially true if we compare our talents with those who are doing a similar ministry.  If we can take these negative thoughts captive and replace them with the truth that God will equip us with all that we need in order to do the work that He has called us to do, then we can push past the insecurities that are sure to trip us up.

If that’s not enough to encourage you to press forward in your calling, remember the words of Philippians 1:6:

“I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”

 

~What You See Vs. What The World Sees~ May 14, 2013

This past Sunday, as part of the Mother’s Day message, we were shown a video produced by Dove.  In this video, women were asked to sit behind a sketch artist who then drew them based on their descriptions of themselves.  He did not see their faces beforehand, he only had their words to go on.  They were also asked to get to know one of the other women from the study.  Then they sat behind the same sketch artist and answered the same questions about the other woman.

The outcome was astounding.  When the two photos were placed side by side, it was obvious that the women did not see themselves in the same light that others did.  The self-descriptive photos showed a less attractive version of the same woman whose beauty shone through in the sketch based on someone else’s words.

It was upsetting to see just how harshly we women judge ourselves.  When we look in the mirror, we see every flaw: a crooked nose, a pimpled chin, crows feet at the corners of our eyes.  We are so focused on all the things we don’t like about appearance that we cannot see the beauty that lies in our individuality.  When others look at us, they see our hearts, not our flaws.  While we are busy critiquing ourselves, others are admiring us for who we truly are.  Why is it that we can see the beauty in others but refuse to see it in our own reflections?

It made me think of how many times someone has given me a compliment and I have quickly shot them down.  My husband tells me all the time how beautiful he thinks I am.  Instead of hearing the love in his words, I come back with comments like, “I look awful today!” or “You have to say that, we’re married.”  When someone praises me for being a good mother, I have been guilty of thinking to myself, “if only they knew how many mistakes I have made just this week, would they still think so highly of me?”

I don’t know why so many of us are hard on ourselves but what I do know is that is not how God intended for us to live.  Every feature that we despise about our appearance was created by the hand of God.  By fussing about all that we find fault with, we are insulting Him!

“He has made everything beautiful in its own time.”

(Ecclesiastes 3:11)

That includes us too.  Everything that God created is a work of art, each one magnificent in its own way.  Try to see yourself as your loved ones see you, or better yet, the way God sees you.  Watch this video and you will see precisely what I mean.

“I will praise you because I, (insert your name here), am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, and that includes me.  Now I know that full well.”

(Psalm 139:14-made personal)