A Personal Journey
2 Corinthians 10:12 ” We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.” (NIV)
After so many years, I have a character trait and habit with which I greatly struggle. This habit or character trait is self-condemnation. You see, I have lived so many years, trying to be as perfect as possible and I live out of fear. I fear that I am disappointing others, and as I result, I disappoint myself. I care about others, especially those close to me. I don’t want them upset with me for something I fail to do.
I can’t say that I completely understand the grace of God vs judgement or condemnation well. I am easily upset if someone, particularly my family, sees something in my life that I am doing wrong or offended by. Striving to be as perfect as possible, I get upset that I am not matching up to the standards I have set for myself. I condemn myself and, as a result, feel condemned by others. I don’t give myself any grace that God offers me as a believer in Romans 8:1 which says ” Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)
At one point in my life, when I was much younger (my teens and early twenties) I was raised around people in an evangelical mission organization. People grow and change, they discover they did things correctly and some incorrectly. When I was young though, I found that several people were lifted up, exalted over others. I think this is fairly common anywhere, though even in a job setting. I felt insecure, feeling that these people were the ones who seemed to have it all together, at least by the standards and views of those who lifted them up. I felt condemned, at least by my own standards because I wasn’t like ” they were” I look back to what I was taught and believe that it was practiced to an extreme. Those who followed the path that they were taught , and the direction they were to go throughout their lives, was the “correct” way to go and if I didn’t do all that I was taught, I was just plain wrong and living in sin! I lived in lots of guilt partly because a decision I had made for my life when I was a young child, I didn’t follow through.
I look back in the rear view mirror often. I wish that I could have done better. I wish I could fix what I think I did wrong. I do this often when thinking about how I made mistakes when raising our kids. I second guess myself instead of realizing that they make their own decisions and choices.
I have much trouble forgiving myself and others. I have a husband though who tries to help me with this. My husband tells me that I need to live for “an audience of one.” I need to live to please God and Him alone.
I have also read about condemnation, about judging and about grace. Romans 8:1 states (for those who believe, have a relationship with God), “Therefore, there is now NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”(NIV)
We all form opinions about one thing or another. This is “judging”. We judge one brand from another, one restaurant from another, one view from another. Judgement is part of our life contrary to what our society tells us. As such, judgement can be either good or bad. We can judge righteously or unrighteously. However, we tend to get aggravated by other’s who “judge” us for a decision we make or a position we take! Who is ultimately the judge ? God is our ultimate judge, really no one else should be. When we go to the Word of God, the Bible, we can see what God himself tells us. We will still make mistakes and sin, but when” we confess what we have done wrong, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness “(1 John 1:9).
Condemnation and judgement are very similar but not the same. Condemnation, specifically demonstrates disapproval and carries with it a focus on the consequences or even damnation. It is negatively critical. But with judgement, there can be a rendering of good or bad, of punishment or reward. A judgement in a court, for instance, can be positive or negative. God wants to reward, not to just criticize and condemn, which is something I see often then I do this with others or with myself.
When I look though at grace, the “freely given, unmerited favor and love of God”(Dictionary.com), I find He still cares, he still forgives, and extends favor Regardless of what I have done.
I find more often now, people are throwing all belief’s, Christianity included, out the window and totally leave what they believed and sometimes taught others. They don’t appear to search and believe God for who He really is. I think of the recent statements and decisions that Joshua Harris made, to leave his faith, and cause harm to his family. It is easy to say ” forget-it, I don’t want to be part of this anymore, I’m going my own way.” Are we doing ourselves or our family any good to turn away instead of turning toward God when we fall into times of doubt and discouragement? We do have a God of grace, forgiveness, offering no condemnation to believers. He wants to come along side of us when we want to give up.
This Religion, that many throw out though, is defined as ” strict faithfulness and devotion.” We can have our own set of rules, trying to please ourselves or condemn ourselves. An author that I have learned a great amount from, Ted Dekker, states “In religion, many have perfected the art of condemnation and wear their judgment of others as a badge of honor.”(The Way of Love) We look inside of ourselves to make the rules. It’s time we all stop. I try to look good to other people or stay upset with myself because I feel I don’t look good to others. I agree with the song by Lauren Daigle called ” Losing My Religion” I have to let go and lose the beliefs that say ” the “religion” of making myself look good to me(and to others) is NOT good for me, and then please only God who gives me grace, no matter what, since He does not condemn me!
I’ve been an actor on a stage
Playing a role I have to play
I’m getting tired, it’s safe to say
Living behind a masquerade
No more performing out of fear
I’m trying to keep my conscience clear
It all seems so insencere
I’d trade it all to meet you here
Light a match and watch it burn
But to Your heart, I will return
No one could love me like You do, no-no no-no,no-no
I’m losing my religion (x4)
To find You
I’m losing my religion, and finding something new
‘Cause I need something different, and different looks like You….Losing my religion – by lauren Daigle
My husband and I went to see the newest Lion King movie last week. Simba, kept looking down on himself in self-condemnation, not believing that he should take his place as King, because he was told and he believed that he had done wrong and killed his father, Mufasa. However, he was not the one who killed him! Simba had to accept who he was and be who he was, a strong, Lion King. It is so easy to not believe and act who we were made to be, because we self-destruct!