JUDGE NOT…

“Wisdom comes to rest in a good heart.” Proverbs 14:33

This summer I have been reflecting back on how my life has been shaped and continues to be formed or transformed by the communities to which I belong. For over three decades, I have been blessed to be a part of twelve step recovery groups. Here is a recent reflection in a recovery devotional called Courage to Change.

“Our Suggested Closing says that though you may not like all of us, you’ll love us in a very special way—the same way we already love you. In other words, every meeting can be an opportunity to practice placing principles above personalities. Most of us are highly aware of the personalities of people around us. Instead of getting lost in petty likes and dislikes, it is important to remember why we come to meetings. We all need each other in order to recover.

I don’t have to like everybody, but I want to look deeper to find the spirit that we share in common. Perhaps I can find peace with each person by reminding myself of those things that draw us together—a common interest, a common belief, a common goal. I will then have a resource for strength rather than a target for negative thinking. I will have placed principles above personalities.

Today’s Reminder: I will keep an open mind toward each person I encounter today. If I am ready to learn, anyone can be my teacher.

The open door to helpful answers is communication based on love. Such communication depends on awareness of and respect for each other’s well-being and a willingness to accept in another what may not measure up to our own standards and expectations.”

This type of non-judgmental, open, and accepting attitude is one of the reasons I continue to attend meetings. I need to be reminded of how I truly want to live day by day.  I am offered a design for living that works. I’ve heard it said that God’s Kingdom is most powerful where and when we least expect it. This was true when I walked through the doors of my first meeting. It still proves true in life today. God surprises me by showing up in unexpected places, IF I’m paying attention.

I came into the rooms of recovery with a very wounded heart. I had spent time in adulthood attempting to hide those wounds or to mend them myself. I had failed. Deep down I didn’t think I was capable of really loving well. I had lost my way and let go of the spiritual beliefs and values that had been my foundation from youth. I judged myself and everyone else very harshly.

“Never trust your tongue when your heart is bitter. Hush until you heal.”

I needed healingphysical, emotional, mental, and, most of all, spiritual healing. My heart was broken enough to be open and slightly hopeful that I could be healed. Many years later, I learned that our souls can be endangered by discord, and that we cannot let the hurting, hard heart drive our bus. I had lived many years in discord, and my heart was hard. I needed to step back, pay attention as best I could, and trust in the wisdom of others who had gone before me.  I slowly began to put my trust in God.

“We can let down the barriers of our hearts and souls so that the God of the unexpected can come in. God can roll away the stone to your heart.”Pope Francis

The twelve steps were the beginning of a return to the spiritual path—the faith of my youth but now through the mind and heart of an adult. God began to slowly and gently chip away at what I had allowed to stick to me. Together, God and I began to clear away the clutter so that I could learn to listen deeply. Today, I can pay attention to and appreciate the gentle wisdom of this world of wonders. I can look for sacred implications in the everyday. I can feel the warmth of God’s healing love as I am made new, again and again.

“Bless the work of our hands and hearts. God is glorified by the holiness of His people’s hearts.”

As my focus has slowly shifted off of myself and on to God and others, I am learning to view life and others thoughtfully. My heart is ready to receive God’s graces and share that love with others. I’ve heard our relationship with God described as two trapeze artiststhe flyer and the catcher. I just need to fly, trusting that I will be caught.

This gentler approach extends to the other relationships in my life. As I watch someone make decisions or navigate their life in a way different from me, I want to keep in mind that they are a mature adult who has most likely thoughtfully considered their options. They are doing their best to make decisions wisely. I want to respect and honor them in that process just as I want to respect and honor my decisions, aware that if new information comes along, we each can change our minds.  There are many times that it is best to simply allow others to work their way through the hard points in life. To pray and trust God in the process. Above all, to judge not. I trust that God can bridge our differences with the fire of Divine Love. God never withholds His love from me. I don’t want to withhold my love from others who may see things differently from me. I want to keep a good, soft heart so that God’s wisdom can enter in.

“Jesus, you know the strengths and weaknesses of the human heart. Share with us your patience and compassion; remind us that another may carry a cross beyond our imagining.”

Quotes taken from People’s Companion to the Breviary, The Liturgy of the Hours with Inclusive Language

12 thoughts on “JUDGE NOT…

  1. Just beautiful! I’m reminded of the podcast you shared…about looking for the path with the greatest opportunity to love. But, in order to be capable of that as fully as I can, I must continue to be open to healing and softening the heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is wonderful, Cherry! Thank you for writing it. One of my prayers for Noah is that one day he will say with sincerity: “I had lost my way and let go of the spiritual beliefs and values that had been my foundation from youth.” And then, that he will utilize the courage that God is faithful to give and attend AA meetings at some point. Most of all, I pray he will fall into the arms of Jesus and surrender.

    Giving your testimony (in part) within this blog post is powerful and encouraging to me as it points to the goodness and faithfulness of the Lord…our Source of Hope. How often I need to be reminded.

    Much love, Cathy

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Cherry:

    What a wonderful message!

    I need to hear this today so badly!

    My parents are aging and making decisions, and my brother and sister are making decisions, with which I do not agree!

    I need to honor these decisions and not judge them, but forgive and try to keep the communication and love open between us all!

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, for your timely word and for listening to the Lord!

    [Image.jpeg][Image.jpeg][Image.jpeg][Image.jpeg][Image.jpeg][Image.jpeg][Image.jpeg][Image.jpeg]

    Sincerely,

    Daniel

    Dr. Daniel Schuetz
    504 Maple Place
    Normal, IL
    61761-3930
    countertenor
    (Listen)🎵
    https://youtu.be/AG5NtcCwYzU

    ________________________________

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Cherry, it’s always good to have a gentle reminder to not judge. It comes way too easy at times and I know it displeases our Lord. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Very nice, Cherry—I particularly liked these quotes: “communication based on love”; “God surprises me by showing up in unexpected places. IF I’m paying attention.”; “never trust your tongue when your heart is bitter. Hush until you heal”; “keep a good, soft heart so that God’s wisdom can enter in” –how very true that we learn much from “community influences’ and the 12 step program was/is such a blessing for you and the others you have been involved with. Again, your photo is so beautiful and I take it, this deck is by your home? such beautiful sunsets? God’s expansive sky, earth, cosmos are daily wonders!!! Be of good cheer and know I miss you and our chats. SBJ

    Liked by 1 person

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