It Hurts When People Wrongly Judge Us, But Jesus Never Condemns Us

My thoughts bounce like ping-pong balls in my head or else my mind goes blank and doesn’t remember what I was going to do next.

My heart hurts. Not only because we lost a loved one. Also because someone judged and condemned him. Someone who has judged me in the past. So painful memories are triggered, memories of being judged and condemned by many, even those who I thought were my friends.

Have you ever been wrongfully judged and condemned by people? I’m so, so sorry. My heart hurts for you.

There is Someone infinitely greater who hurts for us far deeper than anyone ever can. So much that we cannot even fathom it. Jesus cries when we cry. He knows and cares so deeply and strongly. He never condemns us. He is all about LOVE and GRACE. Unhurting. Unending. Unfailing.

How priceless is
Your unfailing love, O God!

    People take refuge in
the shadow of Your wings.

Psalm 36:7 NIV
“So now there is no condemnation
for those who belong to Christ Jesus.”
Romans 8:1 NLT
“The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed,
    a refuge in times of trouble.”
Psalm 9:9 NLT
“I am leaving you with a gift
— peace of mind and heart!
And the peace I give isn’t fragile
like the peace the world gives.
So don’t be troubled or afraid.”
John 14:27 TLB

“Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled”

by Helen Steiner Rice

“Whenever I am lonely and lost in deep despair,
I bundle all my troubles up and go to God in prayer.
I tell him I am heartsick and lost and lonely too,
that my mind is deeply burdened and I don’t know what to do.
But I know He stilled the tempest and calmed the angry sea,
so I humbly ask if in His love He’ll do the same for me.
And then I just keep quiet, and think only thoughts of peace,
and if I abide in stillness, my restless murmurings cease.”

“Healing Is In Your Hands”
by Christy Nockels

“No mountain, no valley, no gain or loss we know
could keep us from Your love
No sickness, no secret, no chain is strong enough
to keep us from Your love
to keep us from Your love
How high, how wide
No matter where I am, healing is in Your hands
How deep, How strong,
And now by Your grace I stand, healing is in Your hands…”

When It’s Hard To Be Thankful

 

It isn’t always easy to be thankful, is it? When physical or emotional pain and/or losses overwhelm us, it can be hard to see through our tears or focus our minds on blessings right in front of us. 

Hagar was an alien and a slave. When her mistress found herself barren, she was given to Abraham to bear a child for her. But dissension escalated, especially after Sarah birthed a child herself. Sarah no longer wanted Hagar’s son around her son Isaac.

Hagar and Ishmael were rejected and sent away to wander in the hot and dry desert with only some water in a skin and some food to sustain them. But the water emptied…

She couldn’t bear to see her son suffer and die of thirst, so she put him under one of the bushes and distanced herself.

Dehydrated and devastated of hope, she sat down and sobbed. Did no one hear her and her son? Did no one care?

“What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there.” Hope heralded in by an Angel of God.

Someone did care. She wasn’t alone. God heard Ishmael’s cries. He heard Hagar’s cries. He hears the cries of the needy.

“For He will deliver the needy who cry out,
the afflicted who have no one to help.”
Psalm 72:12

God lifted her drooping head and opened her tear-swollen eyes to see it. A well. Right in front of her.

Hagar got up, filled her water skin, and gave her son a drink.

We, too, may sometimes feel empty and hopeless. Spiritually parched. Physically exhausted. Blinded by the tears of our grief over the losses and struggles in our lives. How can we ever be thankful?

If we look into our discouraged hearts or at our bleak circumstances (or that of others), we will surely despair of hope. We won’t see the well of blessings God has placed in front of us. We won’t see that God really is good and is full of love and compassion towards us. We won’t see that He actually is for us, not against us.

God longs to be gracious to us. He tenderly lifts our weary hearts to see His bottomless well of love. He invites us to drink, long and freely.

“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
therefore He will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for Him!”
Isaiah 30:18

Jesus’ love and compassion will never empty. They will always be more than enough for us. No matter what. He heard Hagar’s and Ishmael’s cries, and He will hear our cries. He didn’t forget them, and He won’t forget us.

Precious Lord, You know the heart of every person. You know the heavy burdens weighing us down. Please lift us and carry us through this Thanksgiving season and always. Open the eyes of our hearts to Your never-emptying well of love and empower us to drink from it. Send fullness in spite of empty places we feel and strength and peace amid the struggles of this life. Please help us to truly believe You are good, You are love, and You are for us. Thank You for Your patience with us and for never condemning us. Help us to express our gratitude to You by releasing our burdens into Your hands and trusting Your plan for us. Open our eyes, too, to see all that we still have and still are able to do. Thank You so much for Your unconditional love, Your endless patience with us, and Your ever-flowing and over-flowing grace!

“Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”
by Chris Tomlin

Longing For a Heart of Love Like Jesus

“All those people goin’ somewhere
Why have I never cared?”

Brandon Heath sings and asks himself this as he breathes in the confusion and chaos of people in this world and as he longs to have the eyes and heart of Jesus.

It’s so easy to get caught up in our own lives and our own problems, isn’t it? To become blind or passive about the pain of others? Or perhaps numb, because we can’t bear to think of all the pain in this world?

I long to really see each and every person I meet, whether in person or online. I want to listen to the brokenness behind their pasted-on smiles and I’ve-got-it-altogether words. I want to care what is happening to them behind the scenes. I want to remember that each one carries a cross, sometimes hidden from the rest of the world, and to place their burdens in the hands of God who knows and cares.

There may be times when we hesitate to pray for some people.  Perhaps it’s someone who hasn’t treated us very well in the past?  Someone who has spread rumors or believed in the slander of our person?  Someone who has abused us in some way?

Personally, I find it hard to pray for someone who has hurt me. And even harder to pray for someone who has hurt my loved ones or defenseless children and adults. I confess that sometimes I don’t even want God to care about their souls. I hang my head in sadness and plead that I will become more like Jesus.

It’s not always easy, is it? Especially when the pain runs so deep. I’ve asked God – “How can I ask You to bless this person, Lord?” I feel in my heart that God hurts for me and understands why it’s so hard, and He is so patient with me as He helps me through this long and continuous healing process. Through His grace, I will eventually heal deeper and be able to see every person like Jesus sees them.

Oh, to have the eyes of Jesus! When He was suffering excruciating pain on the cross to save us from death and agony, He still looked at the people around Him with compassion. People who hated Him with a passion. Who drove in the nails and mocked Him. Who stripped Him of His dignity. And yet His first words were, “Father, forgive them…”

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them,
for they don’t know what they are doing.”
Luke 23:34a

He could have said, “Father, consume them. They don’t deserve Your love or forgiveness.” But no, He didn’t. His love for sinful mankind is far beyond what we can ever fathom.

We have just as much a part in crucifying Jesus as the ones who physically drove in those nails, and in disgracing Him to the lowest of the lowest.  And yet He still looks directly into our eyes and hearts with love and compassion. While His blood was pouring out to cleanse us. So there will always be hope for us. In spite of who we are or what we have done or not done, He prays for us and longs to redeem us.

Oh, to have a heart of love like Jesus!  A deep, true love for humanity!

“Give Me Your Eyes”
by Brandon Heath

“Give me Your eyes for just one second
Give me Your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me Your love for humanity
Give me Your arms for the broken-hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach
Give me Your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me Your eyes so I can see…”