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

Hope and Strength When You Feel Like You’re Not Enough

Negative voices piercing me, backing me into a corner, knocking the wind out of my sails. Satan worked furiously this summer to bring to my remembrance voices and actions from past abuse, slander, and hurts that tell me I’m not enough and I will never be enough.

It’s hard to keep fighting sometimes, isn’t it? To not believe lies that are so rooted in us? To reach for and cling to our identity in Christ Jesus who tells us we will always be enough in Him?

Also this summer, I visited a new pulmonologist, and I was so thrilled that I didn’t get a bronchial infection for two months. Thank You, God! Surely He must be blessing the new treatment…

Bang! Those hopes deflated like a popped balloon. A chronic bronchitis bout hit me extra hard throughout August. Thrown into a tizzy again, I questioned God’s wisdom… Why, God? 

It can be so hard to surrender our plans into His, can’t it?

I began to feel even more useless, and I fell headlong into the comparison trap. I was so envious of other people’s energy and how much God uses them. Defeated and drained of energy, physically and emotionally, it was hard to fight that “poor me” syndrome.

God so often rescues me from my selfishness and despondency. I’m baffled at His endless patience with me.

A blogging friend shared a new book that was exactly what God knew I needed. The first devotion was headed by a verse that God has often used to give me strength to refute those condemning lies. A verse I’ve been forgetting to take to heart lately…

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation
for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Romans 8:1

As I read on, the second devotion sent a soothing balm to my troubled soul as I read how sickness and exhaustion never diminishes the work of God in our lives. Each of us has an inherent value as an image-bearer of God Himself. (Always Enough, Never Too Much: 100 Devotions to Quit Comparing, Stop Hiding, and Start Living Wild and Free)

You, too, have inherent value, deeply rooted in our Creator who fashioned us after His own image. No matter what you’re going through or what anyone says of you, God never condemns you. If negative thoughts are condemning us, it’s not coming from our Savior who has borne all condemnation for us so we can be set free.

Rather than condemning us, He opens His arms wide and invites us into His cleansing grace when we mess up or fail, His strength when we are weak and helpless, and His healing love when we are broken and afraid.

No, we will never be enough in ourselves, will we? We so desperately need Jesus to fill our emptiness. We need Him to breathe strength, hope, and life into our souls each and every moment.

“For it was You who created my inward parts;
You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You
because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made.
Your works are wonderful,
and I know this very well.”
Psalm 139:13-14

The Lord willing, I will continue to post every Tuesday. However, I am still wrestling with balance. I need to put less pressure on myself here. If there are other needs pressing me or overwhelming me, whether in my family, around me, or otherwise, I need to let go and tell myself it’s ok if I post something shorter or don’t post at all.

But please know that whether or not I post, you’re always welcome to share your heart in the comments of any blog post or through my email. I would love to pray for you and with you. Above all, remember God is available 24/7. There is no better place for us to go with our hurts than to Him and His loving and compassionate heart. May He fill you with His love and hope!

How was your summer?
Did deep hurts sometimes feel like they would consume you?
Is there a Bible verse/promise that fills you with hope?
Please feel free to share your thoughts!

“YOU SAY”
by Lauren Daigle

“I keep fighting voices in my mind that say I’m not enough
Every single lie that tells me I will never measure up
Am I more than just the sum of every high and every low?
Remind me once again just who I am, because I need to know

You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing
You say I am strong when I think I am weak
You say I am held when I am falling short
When I don’t belong, oh You say that I am Yours
And I believe, oh I believe
What You say of me
I believe…”