Stop Doing This | Soul Cancer
This past fall I went for a drive to clear my mind. I was heavy hearted about some unfortunate events that had recently taken place in my life. I was wrestling with some decisions I had to make as a result. This was one of those moments where I saw the value of what past experiences had given me. So, it was much easier to embrace the circumstances and take the situation in stride.
But it was still far from easy...
On this particular drive, I was praying my frustration (which is nothing more than venting to God). In most cases, I accept my feeling better (from venting) as God's grace and assurance upon me. Like, He hears me, understands and has my back (which He always has). But this time, He had a response in the form of a mental dialogue back to me.
The dialogue went something like this:
"My son, do you know what spiritual cancer is - cancer of the soul?"
My initial thought was "fear". It seems that most causes for good or bad come from one of two camps - fear or love. While I was in the ballpark, fear can be a generic term that is much less specific than the root issue. Assuming my assumption was wrong (why would He ask if I knew the correct answer)? I responded in my mind that I didn't know.
"Judgment...judgment is cancer to the soul."
The stream of information in my mind ceased for a few moments as I tried to connect the dots. I like the challenge of trying to get the answer right before it's handed to me. However, I was not able to navigate beyond one important piece - why was this conversation coming up to begin with? If there is one thing I have learned in life by now - if The Lord starts talking to you and it isn't to pass a message on to someone else - He is probably speaking to something directly in your life. He's into dealing with "us" first and foremost. I was obviously making some mistakes in my attitude concerning judgment. The Lord began to speak and I was listening intently.
I don't remember the entirety of the conversation word for word. But essentially He told me that there were a few pitfalls in passing judgment. That it was far more sinister than we typically understand. As humans, we crave justice. Any sense of injustice (great or small) deserves judgment - that is the typical human response. It is almost cultural - second nature even. When the person in front of us is driving to slow what do we do? When someone has more than ten items in the ten items or less isle, what do we do? When the cop pulls you over for speeding, and everyone else flew by you didn't get pulled over, what do we do? When someone close to us does something we don't like, or they didn't do something we expected them to, what do we do?
The first thing The Lord asked me (He likes to make us think more than He likes to give straight answers) - He said:
"When you judge, you are playing god. You are unconsciously assuming you know ALL things, ALL possibilities, ALL outcomes etc. Only I know that. When you believe your judgment is fair, you are playing god. You are establishing a static outcome - a reality that will never be different than that which you have judged. Only I know ALL things! Only I know ALL possibilities! Only I know the future and all that will happen in a person's life!"
That would've been enough to put me in my place, but there was more...
"When you judge, you are claiming to understand the mysteries of purpose, destiny and undermine all the possibilities of my hand at work in situations that make no sense to you."
I could only nod to myself and agree. But then He shifted the direction of the conversation in a way I didn't expect...
"When you judge yourself you are judging me. For you are created in my Image, and everything about my Image is perfection. Do you know Me so well that you can pass judgment on me? Do you know yourself so well that you can pass judgment on yourself?"
Now my perspective was getting rocked! The Lord went on to explain to me how there are spiritual laws that - much like gravity - they just exist. They are ever present all the time. He explained Karmic law; that what we send out will inevitably come back. It is a spiritual boomerang effect. Which is why Jesus said "judge not, less you be judged" (Matthew 7:1). He didn't say "judge not and you might be judged back". He said you would be judged back. This is not eternal judgment, it is the return of our own judgment in proportion to what we put out. Judgment will return to the one who judges us also, which can produce a continual cycle until someone breaks it.
There is power in words. When we pass judgment, we are either blessing or cursing (James 3:10). We are either speaking life or trying to destroy it. We are either speaking destiny or we are distorting it. Again, we are dealing with spiritual law - you don't have to speak judgment out loud to have the same effect as thinking it in your mind. As a person thinks, so he/she is! We can judge equally with the power of thought as much as the spoken word.
Because judgment exists in the realm of fear (1 John 4:18) not the realm of love (God is love, and we are created in His image, so fear/judgment is not our default, we have to choose it). It is not our default setting to cohabitate with fear and judgment.
Judgment is like a slow growing cancer in our soul. The more we pass judgment, the more we come under the spiritual (karmic) law of our judgment. As such, we will eventually develop symptoms such as negativity, depression, paranoia, cynicism, and lack of trust. And in extreme cases, we may produce physical ailments as a result of plunging deeper into our judgments.
What is the solution then? It's not an easy one. In fact, it goes against our very conditioning.
Blessing is the only substitute.
Jesus gave us the answer - "bless those who curse (persecute) you" - "love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you"
Where is the justice in that you ask? I can't give you that answer, you have to experience it for yourself. Some things in life have to be experienced to understand. You will have to let go of the need for immediate justice (at least long enough) to try blessing instead. Even if you cannot conjure up the sincerity to back up the blessing the first few times, your effort will be rewarded if you trust that blessing will come back to you. For as karmic law applies to judgment it applies to blessing. If you want to be blessed then bless often.
There are other spiritual laws that seem to govern justice and grace. And from personal experience, I would say that it is best to let God be God.
If this was easy then everyone would be a pro. It's far from easy, but it's not impossible. Like anything else in life, catching yourself (awareness) asking for forgiveness and forgiving yourself (grace) and then choosing to bless instead - in time this can become a healthy habit.
What areas in your life do you struggle with judgment? Do you judge others, yourself or anything else? What would it take for you to trust God and bless instead? What small step can you take today to stop judging and start blessing?
You got this! We got this! And He's got us!