Are you quick to judge or extend compassion?
How do you see others? Do you see their faults instead of the good about them? Are you quick to see someone and make a judgement about them and their situation instead asking God how he sees them? If so, you might need to take another look perhaps consider some new spiritual glasses and seeing with the eyes of God.
I Samuel is about a woman named Hannah, her husband Elkanah, Eli the priest, and Pininnah-Elkanah’s other wife. To set the stage if you have not heard the story, Pininnah had many sons and Hannah had none. Yearly they made a trip to worship and make a sacrifice. I Samuel 1:5 says, “But to Hannah, Elkanah gave a double portion because he loved her, and the Lord had closed her womb.” ( NIV) What stood out to me is that Hannah
was dearly loved and her husband had great compassion for her. He did not love her for what she could give to him, he simply loved her. This is a good thing for any husband to consider. I am grateful for my husband that does a good job of loving me and my children.
Notice from the above scripture that GOD closed Hannah’s womb. God in his great wisdom had not allowed Hannah to conceive. For some reason, this was God’s design for Hannah for this season of her life. I recently felt God say to me personally when I was questioning Him about something in my life, “Kathleen, when I design something, it is beautiful because I designed it.” Case closed, He is God and I am not. My opinion needed to change, not his.
I Samuel 1:6 says, “And because the Lord had closed her womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. This went on year after year.”(NIV) Pininnah was giving Hannah more grief than she already had. Hannah was already struggling with her identity as a woman, the grief of infertility and then the other woman rubs it in her face. Perhaps you have someone in your life like that. I know I have struggled in my own grief at times and had people unknowingly, (at least I choose to believe they were not intentional) add more pain to my plate. Pininnah was what I call Hannah’s grace grower. Hannah had a choice in how to react to her rival. Hannah’s name actually means “gracious.” I believe Hannah did not react in her flesh but allowed her grace grower to make her more gracious. Hannah used her problem to develop her character.
We can all learn from this example.
I Samuel 1:10 says, “In bitterness of soul, Hannah wept much and prayed to the Lord.” (NIV) Hannah went to the temple to pour out her grief to the Lord. She made a wise choice to go to church and worship in her grief, however, her grief was misinterpreted. The religious leader didn’t see what God saw. Eli made a quick judgement, thought Hannah was not in her right mind and thought she was drunk. At a time when she needed comfort and encouragement, he totally misunderstood the anguish of her soul. In Eli’s defense, how could he understand the pain of a woman’s barrenness? There are people that come to church, searching for help to get through another day. This is a good reminder to all of us to ask God, “How do you see this person and how can I encourage them?” Everyone needs understanding and encouragement, not judgement.
Hannah responds to Eli’s accusation with, “Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of the great anguish and grief.” Not only was she heart sick that she could not have a baby but she was also being tormented by her rival and judged at church! Eli had no idea what was really going on in her life and misunderstood her. His judgement made her feel worthless when she was already struggling with her identity as a woman. This had to feel like insult to injury as Eli was someone in the church she trusted.
As Christians, we must be very careful to not judge others, especially when we have not been in their shoes or experienced what they are going through. In Luke 6:37, Jesus tells us, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven.” If you love Jesus, seek to understand and love those He puts in your path. Too often, assumptions are made, judgement passed or correction quickly given when when what people really need is understanding and love. We are called to love.
I believe God is calling all of us to a higher standard of stepping back in our spirit and asking God how he sees someone instead of making a quick assumption with our natural eye and out of our limited experience. What Hannah really needed was encouragement, compassion and understanding. I know that sometimes in my hurried life, I have been guilty of making a judgement from a snapshot of someone and giving a quick statement when I should have asked God what I could say to encourage and comfort someone. Jesus was moved with compassion and understanding. When we see someone with the eyes of God, we see them with affection, we see the best in them, and see them through the eyes of love.
|Collins-my grand girl!|
The story of Hannah has a beautiful ending. The Lord remembered Hannah and she conceived and gave birth to a mighty man of God named Samuel. Hannah’s job in all this was to keep a right heart and look to God. This is good advise for all of us.
We must first see ourselves as God sees us before we can see others as God sees them. When we see as He sees we give people the power to become better people. We see the treasure in them instead of what is wrong in them. Imagine how different our community would be if we saw and treated people like God. The Hill Country would be amazing!
As Easter approaches, how about giving up judgement of others? Will you repent today of making a quick snapshot judgement of others and ask God to reveal truth to you? Will you join me in looking for those you can comfort and encourage instead of misunderstanding them and judging them? I can’t wait to see what our community will become. It will be amazing!