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Breaking The Cycle

by Kathleen Whitten

I like this meme. I posted this on Facebook and a lot of other people also liked it but commented that seems very hard to do. I agree that it is not easy, yet very possible.

These are my imperfect interpretations of what it takes to overcome judgments, rejection and shame in order to be a person free from bitterness who others can turn to in time of need. But please know that I do not claim to have mastered this and I would highly doubt if anyone else could honestly make that claim. We are all flawed and in constant need of retuning in order to live harmoniously with God, ourselves and others.

“If you were judged, choose understanding.”

Jesus tells us not to judge others. He further explains that if we do, we will be judged by God in the same way that we have judged another person.

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. (Matthew 7:1, 2)

Judgment from other imperfect humans hurts deeply. No one can know the real motives of someone else’s heart. No one but God.

Furthermore, I believe that 99% of the time, other people's judgments of others are all about them, not the person being judged. It is easier to judge another than to see one’s own frailties, sins, and imperfections. It is easy to judge another person’s heart so that everything falls into a neat little box when the real answer is unknown. Humans don’t like the unknown. So some people simply make things up.

But know this, it is very dangerous to “play God” – judging by pridefully summing up and criticizing someone’s heart motives and or mistakes/sins. Jesus calls people who judge others – hypocrites. (Matthew 7:5)

Let’s take a closer look at that.

“And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?” Or how can you say to your brother, “Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye?” Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:3-5)

And this is so important, DO NOT offer unsolicited advice and most especially your judgements to another adult. But if you have been asked by someone to speak into their life, instead of judging, be kind and compassionate, giving advice, not off the top of your head but from what you know as truth.

Look first at the plank in your own eye before clumsily trying to remove the splinter in his/her eye. Don’t let your voice and actions be that of the enemy’s accusations which kick people when they are down - condemning and separating hurting people from the love and mercy of God.

If the person is your spouse or child under your care or a rare someone who you have the right to speak with concerning what they are doing/not doing, remember that Romans 2:4 tells you that it is the “goodness of God leads you to repentance…”

Let your words be good: helpful, not harmful. And guard your own heart from coming to conclusions about another person’s heart.

“If you were rejected, choose acceptance.”

Most of us have been rejected and know how terrible this feels. Instead of rejecting others in turn, choose to accept people. This does not mean you accept the rejection or the abuser.

Christians need to learn about boundaries. Jesus certainly had boundaries. He turned to God for all things but allowed the advice of a sacred few. And The Bible never says that Mary, the mother of Jesus, continued to judge His true motives and heart into adulthood. Nope. Jesus had boundaries. And in having good/God boundaries, Jesus became practiced at not permitting the fickle crowd to sway Him. Nor did he stop fulfilling His mission on earth when His closest friends failed Him. Be careful who you allow to speak into your life. And move away from those who are constantly judging your heart.

“If you were shamed, choose compassion.”

Someone shaming you fits well into the judgment category. Shame, accusation and condemnation are from the enemy, not God.

Conviction with kindness and clear direction, without confusion is from God. But He did not ask you to do His job. He alone knows the full situation and the motives behind actions.

Be the person who is accepting and loving, knowing that is your job. Don’t take over God’s job. That is what Lucifer, the beautiful angel of light tried to do. He, like some people you might know, called himself perfect and wanted to be God.
As a result, He fell from heaven with a third of his loyal angels who we now know as demons.

Don’t join the enemy in shaming another person. And when you are shamed, choose compassion. We all need God’s forgiveness. That is between us and Our Creator. But shame from a peer or family member or even a stranger serves to stab the heart and separate the injured from God’s mercy and compassion.

Just a note: In this short explanation I cannot address criminals, judges and the shame they might or might not incur. That is not what we are speaking of here. We are speaking of normal society and how we act toward others and respond to other’s actions or words.

“Be the person you needed when you were hurting, not the person who hurt you.”

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

This Scripture promise comes alive in your life and in the lives of others when you become the comforter instead of the abuser. It's God's delight when you become the person you needed when you were hurting. He says so.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2Corinthians 1:3,4)

You can become the supportive listener that you so desperately needed. You can offer the hugs. You can pray for another constantly. You can express sadness and eventually encouragement to another crushed soul. You can be what you may or may not have had during your time of anguish.

“Vow to be better than what broke you – to heal instead of becoming bitter so you can act from your heart, not your pain.”

I do believe that it's a decision to be better than what broke us. But it is also a process. You can choose and continue to choose to be better than the pettiness, the evil, the negligence, the cruelty, the neglect, the unfairness and the horrific circumstance. And you become even more better as you seek wise counsel and make the necessary changes that you can make in order to have peace and even safety in your life. God encourages us not to JUST seek wisdom from within. Yes, read The Bible, pray and search yourself but also talk to trusted counselors, professionals, and your pastor if you have one.

“A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel… (Proverbs 1:5)
“Plans are established by counsel; By wise counsel wage war.” (Proverbs 20:18)
“For by wise counsel you will wage your own war, and in a multitude of counselors there is safety.” (Proverbs 24:6)

As you seek God, wise counsel, good change and healing you are likely evolving, forgiving, changing, moving away from the mire and growing. The person or situation or circumstance may still taste bitter, but that bitterness need not spread to your inward parts. Freedom comes in realizing that your focus no longer has to be on the horrible past. Nor do you have to remain silent continuing to endure the present pain or judgment or rejections or shame heaped upon you by another. You, as a person can continue to get better, not bitter.

Yep, none of this is easy. But with God, it is not only possible but absolutely probable. Stay in His Word. Seek wise counsel. With His help, do all that you do out of love and not fear. And your eyes and ears will be turned away from the judgments, rejection and shame– especially as you become the person that helps others instead of hurting them.

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