Love speaks.

 So many of us stay silent for fear of being deemed judgmental. But is it ever okay to pronounce judgment?  Does Love ever speak?

 Do you tell your cousin that five beers a night is too much?  Do you tell your brother that his girlfriend’s behavior is selfish?  Do you tell your friend that she needs to yell at her kids less and listen a little more?

 I feel uncomfortable even reading those questions because I am petrified of being judgmental.   I know all the rational arguments against judgment: Who made me the authority?  Why should I presume to know the motives of another’s heart?   And ultimately—what would my words of judgment really accomplish anyway? 

 These questions are rooted in legitimate concerns.  Jesus understood these concerns when he said “judge not lest ye be judged.”  He continually warned people (namely religious people) that they should love more and condemn less—that they should make sure to remove the planks from their own eyes before they notice the specks in their brothers’.

 So does his command of “judge not” imply that we should stay silent?

 Most questions can be answered by acknowledging Christ’s overarching, under-lying, all-encompassing command: love one another.  But sometimes Love is silent, and sometimes Love speaks.  And the only way we can determine whether to give voice or remain hushed is by abiding in the Source of Love.  So please- if you’re not abiding in Love—for all of our sakes—stay silent.  Judge  not.

 For judgment can only be Kingdom-building if it is rooted in love.  And Love does not seek power or self-affirmation.  Love wants what is best for the other—Love recognizes how a person’s worth does not reside in a person’s behavior.  Love sheds light on error only with the intent of illuminating greater truth .  This truth is the spark that unlocks the radiance of who this other person could be in God.   

 It is true that I do not want ignorant people, fueled by their arrogance, to judge my behavior.  Because Arrogance is a sly foe; he parades under the guise of “selflessness” but he judges only with the intent of beefing up his own ego (this is the girl who longs to find the error in her friend’s ways with the intent of confirming that her own ways are right.)  I do not need Arrogance’s Judgments— God protect me from the pronouncements of the prideful.

 But do you want to speak the truth to me in love?  Because you want what is best for me?  Then please, please, please—for redemption’s sake—for my sake—and for Christ’s sake—do not stay silent.  It is true that your words alone cannot change me—but they just might open my spirit up enough to a God who can.

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8 Responses to Love speaks.

  1. vandemom2 says:

    I agree that one need not stay silent, but can still remain non-judgemental. As you say, Love speaks, and when love speaks, judgement is not present. I think sometimes we feel judgement even when it is love because that is the perspective with which we are receiving the words…especially if what is being mentioned is something that we have already questioned in ourselves, so there is a twinge of guilt in our conscience about whatever it is about, our protective defense tells us that the person is judging…and …OH, how dare they?!, but when we open ourselves up to honesty, we realize the truth in the words of love.
    My parents are ones who have always felt it a parental responsibility to point out something we could be doing differently….when I knew I was wrong, it felt like judgement, but the love behind it would eventually help me see reason.
    Keep sharing your precocious wisdom. Many women don’t consider the truths you seek until they are doddering grandmothers knitting in their front porch rocking chairs…….maybe all the rocking you have done has advanced your sageness.

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    • Liz says:

      I so agree with you. I think I could have written a thousand more things about this– with about 900 of them being things about how to listen as opposed to how to speak. I also need to figure out what the word “judgment” actually means. It’s loaded with connotations– does judgment necessarily include condemnation? If it does– I definitely think we should NEVER judge. It’s all very confusing and thought-provoking.

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      • vandemom2 says:

        to read this makes me think that blogging can fill the void left from no longer having the all-night philosophical discussions of one’s youth….those discussions return when you reach the age where sleep is elusive.

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      • vandemom2 says:

        I think society views all judgement as condemnation, but that need not be so. Can I not come to a conclusion on a matter and proclaim my judgement without it being negative? Certainly. The judgement of a contest, I proclaim this apple pie to be superb. The judgement of a thorough examination, I proclaim this child to be in fantastic health….as you say…..many, many thoughts on this subject, and you have made me want to change my new motto from, “Judge Less, Love More” to “Condemn Less, Love More”. Nah….maybe it should simply be: “Love More”

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Beth says:

    This isn’t quite at the heart of your reflection, but it always come to mind when behavior vs. person comes up. I love the compassion and commitment this guy brings to what he does. http://www.illdoctrine.com/2008/07/how_to_tell_people_they_sound.html

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    • Liz says:

      I liked it all– but especially when he said how our focus on behavior is actually the most productive means of fighting injustice– then we can avoid the whole “knowing a person’s intentions” issue.

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  3. missionhabitatfix says:

    Am I the friend who yells at her kids too much? If Claire would stop misbehaving … 🙂

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    • Liz says:

      Hey- I didn’t realize “mission habitat” was you, Marie! What is the link I go to when I click on your name? No- I didn’t have any close friends in mind when I wrote that. No worries! From what I can tell, you are a pretty stellar mom. (And those crisp grapes sure helped your case)

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