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This blog is simply meant to bring God the glory; no more and no less. I'd love to hear from you! Comments, questions, conversation. rebecca.labriola@gmail.com

Monday, December 20, 2010

Oh, Judgments!

Judgments.  Ah.  It is so easy to place judgments on other people.  It only takes a second to criticize.  Without even thinking, we silently disapprove of the outfit that is not church appropriate, we make a face when we hear about someone’s lifestyle, or we criticize someone’s physical appearance.  I think society as a whole has become so critical and judgmental that we don’t even realize when we place judgments on others.  It has sadly almost become a way of life.  We have become so prideful in thinking that the world should run as we wish it to.  We have come to think that people should act, dress, live, and speak in a manner of which we approve.

I have fallen victim to my pride far too many times. 

We are all supposed to love others and not judge them. Jesus says that the second greatest commandment is to love our neighbors as ourselves. (Matthew 22:39) How often do we truly love others the way we should?  My pride overrides my love and before I know it I am making judgments about everyone and everything.  Whether they are true or not; they are judgments and they are wrong. 

There have been some occasions when I am sitting in church and the people behind me are chatting away. How dare they? They are in church.  They should take their chit chat outside. I am TRYING to pray. Judgment. Automatic, unintentional, and unjust judgment.  I have no right to judge these people who are having a conversation.  They may be conversing about a life or death situation.  Maybe they are old friends who ran into each other and have no idea they are being a disturbance to others. Or maybe, just maybe, I need to learn to concentrate on our Lord better.

The horrible driver in front of you. You yell at him telling him what a horrible driver he is. Maybe his wife died today and he his not able to clearly concentrate on the road.  It's possible he is lost.  As hurtful as it may be to you pride, you are not the perfect driver either.  Until we become perfect drivers; we have no right to judge.

There are those people who come to church late and walk right up to the front row.  Or there are those who leave early every week.  Ah, this is a good one.  Thought process? How come they come so late? And they loudly walk right up to the front of the church? Then they leave early to top it off? Oh, pride.  Oh, judgments.  We have no right to make these judgments.  Maybe these people have a deathly ill relative they need to care for.  Did that ever cross your mind? 

It often crosses my mind- after I place those horrible judgments. 

"Stop judging, that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged.”  (Matthew 7: 1-2)

Wow.  Do we even need anymore reason to stop judging?

It is a darn good thing that our God is a forgiving and merciful God.  We so often fail at the perfection we are called to. “So, be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48) We may never reach this holy perfection; however, we must try.  Among many things, this holy perfection consists of a love that is free of judgment.  This love does not mean agreeing with someone’s way of life, the language they use, or another’s beliefs but it does mean treating them with the love and respect that they as a person deserve.  It was the love of the Father for the Son and the Son for the Father that resulted in Jesus being expiation for our sins, and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world. (1 John 2:3).  So, take this time and ask the Lord to help you to love others fully this day- without judgment.  Make the effort to look upon others whom you would normally judge with the love of the Father.  Replace a judgment with an act of love.  The power of love can do incredible things.      

Friday, December 10, 2010

Job gave us all a choice

Two different people.
Connected through the bond of marriage.
They lived a happy and wealthy life and were in need of nothing.
Then suddenly… they had everything stripped away.
NOTHING was their own any longer. 
Their family, their property, their animals- gone.  Their life crumbled before them. 
They had a choice. They got to decide how they were going to react to the stripping away of their lives and the detachment from the things of the world.
They chose two completely different routes.
The husband? He responded with the powerful words of, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job )
The wife? She responded with just as much of a powerful response. Her painful words rang, “Curse God and die.” (Job 2:9)

Job and his wife.

God was in control. He had complete control and power. God could have prevented Job from losing everything.  But He didn’t.  Lord knows the reason.

Doesn’t this sound similar to everyday modern life?

The Lord tests His people. He desires for His children to know we are not of this earthly world.  He gives and He takes away.  He may strip everything away like He did to Job.  Life may feel insecure.  Life may be pain. Often times life IS pain. Life is uncomfortable.  Life is having no idea what is going to happen next.  There are times during life when we wonder if everything will truly be ok.  We may lose friends, we may lose a job, we may lose money, we may lose a house.  We may need to learn the lesson that nothing is truly ours.

We may have a story stupidly similar to Job’s story.

And if this is your story; you now have a choice.  You are blessed enough to have the free will to decide how you will react to life’s struggles and trials and the stripping of the things of the world. The choice is black and white. Yet still, it is a hard decision to make.

You can respond to life’s struggles with Job’s words, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job )
Or you can repeat Job’s wife’s words, “Curse God and die.” (Job 2:9)
The choice is yours. You are blessed enough to decide.

After going through a stripping of everything I had known to be stable; I was given this choice.  I had to decide how I was going to react to the stability that I once knew being shattered.  I had to choose what I was going do to after I was ripped up and away from what I knew and was thrown into something new.  I had to choose what my words would be after I felt let down time after time by the God who is LOVE.  In my humanness, I have no idea which words I would have chosen.  I pray that only words that glorify the Lord would have come out of my mouth, but I don’t know that for a fact.

However, what I do know to be true is that through the power of God I was given the ability to praise God, in the good times and even more so in the bad times.  Though this year has not been what I would have guessed it would be nor what I would have chosen it to be- praise God.  And praise God that He has given me the ability to praise Him through this year. And praise God He has given me the awesome ability to look at this past year and to look at the uncertainty of this current time and say, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord!” (Job )

Job was very faithful to Lord and to the Lord’s plan.  Job boldly accepted the pain and hardships in his life.  At the end of the book of Job, Job says to the Lord, “I know that You can do all things and that no purpose of Yours can be hindered.  I have dealt with great things that I do not understand; things too wonderful for me, which I cannot know.” (Job 42:3-4)

Some words, huh?  The man has NOTHING and he spoke not with hate or anger towards the Lord.  He called his sufferings AWESOME! Are you even kidding me? The man is so beyond completely faithful. The Lord acknowledges Job’s faithfulness and rewarded Job.  God rewarded Job by returning to Job everything he had owned before- in twofold! 

Job. Was. Blessed.


He was blessed BECAUSE he was faithful.
Job’s story is pretty amazing. I wish I could be as faithful as this man!

May the Lord bless each and every one of us with a story like Job’s!

May we all walk through life’s trials and struggles with the grace of the Lord.
May we all have the courage to confidently say, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21)
May the Lord bless us all in the divine manner in which He desires.

The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord!
Job 2:9
Then his wife said to him, “Are you still holding on to your innocence? Curse God and die.”

Blessed be the name of the Lord!