Being Judged and Judging

The other day, I was being judged by someone.  I didn’t like it and it got me down.  Was I really like that, I thought?  I really turned over the unfair judgement in my head for awhile.  Finally, I realized that it just wasn’t true and even if it were true, I could do something about it.  Did I say or do something wrong, yes, but was I really that bad?  Tomorrow, I’ll work on that but don’t think for one minute that I’m going to lay down and die about it.

“You’re not good at listening.”

“You’re not kind.”

“You gossip too much.”

“You’re just not good enough.”

“That actor stinks.”

“That author is stupid.”

“My neighbor is an idiot.”

“That driver is terrible.”

“That person pretends to be a good Christian.”

“That person is a flirt, probably cheats on his/ her spouse.”define meWhatever the judgement against you, does it define you?  It doesn’t.  There’s a difference between constructive criticism and judging.  Criticism is to help you be better, take it with the grain of salt if it is well intended.  When someone judges you though, that’s just a sentence, to hang on your neck if you let it.

The Lord’s prayer states, “forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”  Matthew 6:12.

We will be forgiven how we forgive.  We will be judged how we judge.  (Oh crap!)  Truly, how we judge does more than just defines us, its how we will be defined by the Lord.

Next time you feel judged, remember, its worse for the judger than it will be for you.  How you in return judge, will define you.

Keep on your toes – and God Bless.  I know I need it, because I know I can get judgey!

Suffering

I understand that suffering for my loved ones is noble and good and rewarding.  For instance, my daughter will often cry out for me in the middle of the night because she’s had a bad dream.  I get up, go in to her bedroom, adjust her blanket and sometimes get her water.  I do and don’t love doing this for her.  I typically wake up early to go for a morning run and its harder for me when she wakes me up an hour or two before I need to get out of bed.  Still, she needs me and I like that she needs me and that I can comfort her.  It’s suffering but it’s also good.

For me, this type of suffering is good and noble and I understand it.  There are countless other sufferings I do for others, such as the dishes, or at work when I try and help another with a project or a deal.  I like helping even if its hard.

I even can understand suffering when its volunteering with the Knights of Columbus.  I know I’m helping and there’s a gratification with that help.

Obviously, if I’m only doing suffering for rewards and accolades, my heart is in the wrong place, even if the work is still good.  There are times when I try and secretly do good works for others or I don’t let others know of my trails.

I really try my best to act righteously with my good works through suffering.

(I hope I’m not even trying to convince you I’m a good person here, I’m just trying to put my thoughts down on how suffering is good).

Once in my career, I knew God was putting me through a trial.

I came across this quote that I felt was appropriate from St Thomas More: “Every tribulation whichever comes our way either is sent to be medicinal, if we will take it as such, or may become medicinal, if we make it such, or is better than medicinal, unless we forsake it.”

I was sitting in my car, about to go into work, and knew I was going to be publicly humiliated today.  A deal had gone wrong and my boss was set to make an example of me.  I wasn’t being fired, just ridiculed and my career was to take a hit.  The punishment was not just, in my opinion.  Had I made mistakes, yes, but had others made much greater mistakes – yes.  I also felt, truly, the buck didn’t stop with me, but my boss wasn’t going to take the bullet, so I was going to take the fall.

I didn’t want to go in to work.  I sat in my car wondering how this suffering was to help.  How was me being publicly humiliated going to help me and my faith?  Why must I suffer?  What must I learn from this suffering?  I felt I had learned the lessons of my mistakes from the deal gone wrong and knew I was better for it.  So why must I know be publicly shamed?

I started to pray the Rosary and it was the sorrowful mysteries.  The first decade is dedicated to Jesus’ agony in the Garden.  He knew he was to be shortly turned over and crucified.  He didn’t want to go but He must suffer for us.

In a small way, I felt I was in the Garden.  Certainly not to the extent of Jesus, who’s suffering was greater and was without sin, but I felt closer to Him then before.

On the next decade, I was to contemplate the scourging at the pillar.   I could hear His cries!  Next, was the crowning of the thorns and then his carrying of the cross and I could see Him in my mind, bearing the pain for me.  Finally, He was crucified.

Later, I prayed the Our Father for each of His five wounds, two on each hand and foot and one on His side.

Why must I suffer?  On that day, I was to suffer to have a greater appreciation for His suffering for us.  Even though I suffer, He Love me and His promise of salvation.  While my suffering didn’t help anyone that day, it helped me.  I felt closer to His love and only when I understand His love better can I love better.  I’m loved, you’re loved, thanks be to God!

Forgiveness

This morning was like a gut punch from God.  I was driving in to work, really wrestling with the thought of someone who was unexpectedly hurtful to me the other day.  I find, sometimes, in life you’ll come across those that are jealous of you and will try and tear you down.  Just the other day, I heard that it’s not atypical for at weight watchers, for someone to lose a good deal of weight, only to make an enemy or two in the process amongst their peer group.  I was shocked!  I thought someone losing weight would give credence to the process and inspire those around them; I never thought you could be making enemies through jealousy.  BTW – I do love and support weight watchers! 

Such is the case in my life, where recently I had some success, only to have made some jealous in the process.  Yikes!  I was struggling with wicked thoughts and asking God what to do to the point of obsession.  I don’t like being mad and resentful.  I needed God’s help and His intervention! 

That’s when on the radio, listening to Seize the Day on the Catholic Channel, I heard about the importance of Forgiveness.  The commentary was on the reading where the master forgives a debt of his servant and later learns the servant would not forgive a smaller debt from another.  In the reading, the master learns of the affair and ends up punishing the servant who he had originally forgiven the debt.  The reading is Matthew 18:21-35 if you’re interested in reading the story in its entirety.   

I know in my life, I’m a sinner and know God’s mercy has been great.  I’ve been forgiven and blessed a thousand times over. 

Today, rather than focusing on my resentment and hurt I’m going to focus on forgiving.  What does that look like exactly?  I’m not going to hug those that hurt me but I’m not going to seek revenge by in turn spreading rumors.  I’m not going to have mock arguments in my head about the things I’d like to say to my persecutors.  I’m not going to return hate with hate.  I’ll say hello to them and try and have a conversation with them with no malice.  Today, I’m going to work on finding it in my heart to be ok with the wrong.

I’ll do my best to avoid being hurt again and the trust factor is damaged with some, but I’m open to helping them as much as I can and praying in earnest for those people.  Whether if forgiveness is sought or not, they’ll receive it, truly.  If ever I have the chance, I’ll even trust them, if possible. 

After hearing the reading and reflection today, I’m better for it.  That message was tailor made for me.  Thanks be to God! 

Jesus gets into your boat

And He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little way from the land. And He sat down and began teaching the people from the boat.  Luke 5:3

I love this image.  Here is Simon Peter, minding his own business, having worked all day and is washing his nets, and then Jesus gets into his boat.  So it goes with God.  How often have you been about your day, all is normal, then the Lord shows up with a lesson.

God doesn’t need an invitation.  He doesn’t need our permission.  Jesus gets into Simon’s boat and starts giving out orders.  When you are THE MASTER, you don’t need permission.  There’s no squabbling with God’s wants.  If Jesus states to you, set out into deep waters, you go.  You don’t argue, but Lord, we’ve been fishing all day and what’s the point.  If I had shown up and got in Simon’s boat, he would have thrown me out.  When Jesus shows up in the boat, Simon does as he’s told.

God has a way of just showing up with a lesson.  Who are you to argue when the Lord gets into your boat?  Do we argue, get out of my boat, or do we do as we’re told?  We live in a society that says our needs are more important.  Who is anyone to show up and tell me where to go or what to do.  When the Master is God Himself, we’re better off when we listen.  We’re better off when we do as we’re told.

Complacency

Jonah 1:1-3 The word of the LORD came to Jonah, son of Amittai:  Set out for the great city of Nineveh, and preach against it; for their wickedness has come before me.  But Jonah made ready to flee to Tarshish, away from the Lord.  He went down to Joppa, found a ship going to Tarshish, paid the fare, and went down in it to go with them to Tarshish, away from the LORD. 

Jonah is told by the Lord to do His work and Jonah jumps on the fastest ship he can find and races away from God’s desires.  It doesn’t go well being disobedient though and he finds himself thrown overboard by the crew, only to be swallowed by a fish.  For three days he suffers in the belly of the fish, only to find himself cast back to his original starting point.  Jonah has gotten the message, do God’s work.

Jonah lives a comfortable life and is told to do something uncomfortable, threaten 120,000 Ninevites with God’s wrath.  Where Jonah is directly disobedient, being complacent in life to God’s wants for us is similar.

I know I can get complacent with my love of God.  I get comfortable with my surroundings and don’t push myself in directions I think I’m being lead.  Sometimes, I even run like Jonah from the rightly thing to do.

There is something to be said about being in a good spot.  Soak in the rays and enjoy yourself.  There’s also a word of caution I’d like to input when it comes to sitting still and being complacent about the important things in life.

We shouldn’t be complacent with our spouse, our children, our health or our relationships, to name a few.  We can enjoy these things, but we can’t take them for granted.  For instance, my wife, bless her soul, does much of the housework.  While I appreciate this work and know she works hard, it doesn’t mean I can throw my clothes on the bathroom floor, knowing she’ll pick them up.  I can’t leave dishes on the table, knowing she’ll clean them up.  I can’t get complacent with her and her work or else I mind one day wake up only to find a dish shoved up my nose.

When it comes to God and my relationship, I have to continue to praise him.  I can’t take for granted that things are going well and therefore not do my prayers.  If I take Him for granted, I just mind find myself in the belly of a fish, making it abundantly clear after the turmoil, that I should have heeded His message.