Thursday, April 2 2020 - 4:16 PM
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Judging Others

There’s a really good chance what you’re about to read will sound a little too good to be true, not to mention very simple. But don’t let the goodness of it all keep you from believing. I’ve been soaking in the Bible my whole adult life. What I share with you here not only jives with the great teachings of Jesus, it connects a stream of spiritual dots in new and exciting ways. Let me explain via a most recent personal story.

For all my life I’ve wanted to take a whole-hearted-never-look-back plunge into the world of vegans. As my sister puts it, vegans are people that don’t eat anything that has a mother, or comes from a mother. In other words, vegans avoid all animal products. Now if you’re not big into the health scene, and wondering why on earth I’d want such a thing (no more mac and cheese?). Let’s just say that vegans cut their risk of just about everything bad that can happen to the human body down a huge chunk—like cancer for instance.  Sadly, milk and other animal products—despite the white mustache campaign—aren’t all that good for us.

Well, despite my desire and knowledge on the subject, I have never been able to leave off the animal goods for very long. Being somewhat intolerant to milk products—meaning I feel really yucky after I eat a grill cheese sandwich or drink a milkshake—I have known for years my life would be a lot more fun if I could just say no. And yet I remained deeply ingrained in my eating habits and seemingly unable to make the mental shift my soul was telling me I would love.

Then God hit me on the head. If there’s one thing Jesus has always taught me, it’s that there’s a cause for every effect. In other words, if I have a self-defeating behavior, well, there’s a reason for that behavior, and all I needed was to expose the cause and the effects would disappear. Sadly, knowing this didn’t stop me from blindly trying for years to get my eating habits in order—feeling bad when I didn’t. For some reason I’d just never applied God’s most basic teaching in my life to my feeding habits.

Until, like I said, God hit me on the head. It happened while I was sitting on a beach outside of Lima, Peru praying with a friend for healing in her life, and it just hit me like a ton of bricks. There was a real solid reason for my poor eating habits. I took a deep breath, spilled out my revelation and we started praying for me. First, I asked God to show me the cause and then shut my mouth. When you ask God a personal question like that, you will get your answer if you sit and listen instead of rambling on and saying amen.

We sat in silence for about two seconds (although sometimes it can take longer to hear what God is saying because of our own junk and prejudices). Suddenly neighbors from my early childhood came to mind. I had always thought they were weird. They ate weird. Birthday cakes made with yeast—yuck. Cookies hard as rock. As I pictured them, a smirk started to spread across my face and I began to chuckle… fanatics.

Still grinning I prayed and asked God why He was bringing them to mind. This time I sat still for what felt like ten minutes. My stream of consciousness was flooded with a million pictures centered on these neighbors, their strange food and my sisters and I making fun of them—pinching our noses and giggling wickedly. And then, out of nowhere, enlightenment materialized. Actually, it showed up as the word judgment… judgment… judgment. With each passing frame the word echoed in my soul.

I got the message. My resistance to being extremely healthy was somehow bound up in these earliest experiences of the neighbors I considered health nuts and my judgments over them.  After all, I’d asked God and listened and trusted He had dredged up these long lost memories for me. Now I just needed to know how this all fit together and what to do about it.

I asked God as much and waited. Matthew 7:1 came to mind. Jesus taught that how we judge we will be judged. This psychological phenomenon wasn’t news to me. I knew if I judged someone a certain way, I hung that over my head forever. Yes, we fear what we have done to others will fall on us. This was it. I was afraid of being judged as I had judged. I had thought of them as pathetic and ridiculed them. I was bound to that judgment and didn’t want to be pathetic or ridiculed.

But that wasn’t all. As I waited and prayed, the word agreement came to mind again and again. The teaching of Jesus “by your words you will be justified and by your words you’ll be condemned” accompanied it. I had made an agreement with myself that healthy people were weird, silly and fodder for jokes, and my words had condemned me to a life of poor eating choices to avoid being lumped in with them.

Believe me, I know this sounds awfully simple. Partly because it’s impossible to write all that goes into the Spirit of God stirring up your memories and feelings and words with His teachings all at once in this beautiful place of silent prayer, but also, and mostly, because it is simple. We are bound by our agreements and our words… even if they’re based in lies and confusion.

Well. To make a long story short, I asked God how to get out of this confusion that had held on all these years, deep in my emotions, and He reminded me that confession and repentance (a turning away from) are acts that break our judgments (1 John 1:7-9 and James 5:16 came to mind). So I prayed aloud with my friend, something along the lines of… I confess all my judgments over that family and break the agreement I made that their food choices were pathetic. I break agreement with the lie I accepted way back then that people who eat healthy are pathetic… and so on. I asked for all the poor choices and thoughts that I’d made, based on that lie to be broken—along with their consequences over me and my loved ones too. I completely broke rank with my past judgments and words.

And that was that. After severing ties with all that confusion and with those lies that had guided my food choices—without my having even known it—I confessed that I was now coming into agreement with reality. That I now agreed that eating well was wise, and people who did so were responsible, exceptional people. And like I said, that was that. I went home and woke up vegan. I have lost all desire for unhealthy food choices. The struggle is gone—I admire my new choices.

So, will I eat up some animal stuff again at some point? Probably, or maybe not—I have no idea and I’m not worried about it at all. I feel complete freedom to follow my desires now and be the wise, exceptional person I can be. And this is the good news that sounds just a little too good to be true. That Jesus not only explains how the truth sets us free and how if we confess our stuff out loud we’ll be healed, He also is capable and willing to lead us to the truth that needs confessing so that our freedom can go as deep as our souls.

I recommend you try this at home. All you need is a firm grip on the basic teachings and promises of God (hello, Bible), and a willingness to ask God the big questions and then be quiet long enough so you can hear Him tell you the answers. I have come to believe—I could tell you a hundred such stories of healing—that there are no mysteries with God. For every effect; every self-defeating behavior, every bitterness, pain or habitual sin we seem helpless against, there is a deep cause that God knows and can reveal to us. And in that revelation, we following the Spirit’s guidance can be freed. We simply act on the most basic teachings of Jesus, use our words to confess and then break rank with it all forever.

It’s really that simple. No, really, it is.

Clarissa Worley Sproul writes from the Pacific Northwest.

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About Clarissa Worley Sproul

Clarissa Worley Sproul

writes from the Pacific Northwest.

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