Oh, I didn’t point it literally.
You know what I’m talking about.
A man giving his testimony once hit me square in the jaw when, after listing some of the 17 times he heard the gospel, and it was truly an amazing testimony from a man who is now a passionate pastor, he said “God’s grace is abundant for a sinner like me and also for the little old lady in the pew who has done nothing worse than judge her neighbor.”
God has been working on me about that.
My mom, dying of breast cancer and suffering, confessed, “Beth, I never really suffered.”
“Really Mom? Oh, yeah, you took vitamins and didn’t have flu symptoms for more than one morning.”
“I judged others wrong. I thought everyone had my strengths and they just weren’t using them.”
It was wonderful, that confession. It opened my eyes and I knelt to Jesus in my heart because even though I have more of an idea of differing strengths than she did, I will have inherited the knee jerk judging.
And not realize it.
Romans 12:3 (NIV)
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.
James 4:11-12 (NIV)
Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you — who are you to judge your neighbor?
James so clearly says what to do about judging. I read it, I memorized it, and yet I wrestled with the fiery darts.
So I came as close to accusing as I dared, and it was indeed felt as accusation.
The problem was, the accused denied.
So then what? I didn’t know whether to believe the denial or not.
Except, I kept tension in my shoulders, where I carry the world.
I went swimming in June when our local pool opened, and I used muscles I hadn’t in a while, and got a pinched nerve. Saw the doctor. Waited two weeks to see the Physical Therapist.
All summer I saw the PT, paying $20 each time. They say education is expensive, right? Problem is, a mom feels guilty spending money on herself. But this was important: husband said, “Don’t sit on this.”
Such bad posture.
Stretches, adjustments like a chiropractor would make, and working on muscles like a massage. Just to deliver my finger from the threat of a permanent numbness.
The parallel wasn’t lost on me.
I prayed hard, about that spiritual finger pointing.
I may never know the truth about a lot of things. I don’t even know if suspicions are coming from the evil one. But I tend to think that God doesn’t send us accusatory thoughts. I think I believe he is above that.
So I am learning to do battle in my mind and heart. Learning to remember the armor of God, especially that beautiful helmet of salvation to protect my head, and breastplate of righteousness. Learning to praise God for knowing what I do not know, for revealing what I should know, and for keeping me through it all.
There came a point where my finger was better for a day after seeing the PT. Then I would move in the wrong way and it came back.
Then a few days of full feeling, and only twinges, and the PT said I was almost better and should come in two weeks. But I was afraid to let go of her ministering care.
Our last session was over and she said she would keep my file open a month, that I could call if it came back for a whole day, and in three weeks I should send in an evaluation. Keep up the exercises.
“Will I always have to watch out for wrong positions,” I asked, “Or will I get back to normal where I don’t have to think about it?”
“No, that will fade slowly too. A year is not too long to expect though, before you have complete range of motion without worrying about the nerve.”
Dear finger, point to God. Don’t point at anyone else but your own heart.
It is so hard to think of others as better than yourself, really.
Dear heart, start with God, who you are absolutely convinced is better and deserves all praise. Maybe humility toward others will flow out of that. In the meantime, pray and leave to God the fun of working in others’ lives!
All thanks and praise to God who made a way for me this summer!
I so desperately need to keep in this correct position of thankful trust!