by Damainion Ewell
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:1-5, NKJV).
We are living in a time where, unfortunately, society lives and dies by the judgment which it doles out. If judgment, on any level, is not executed, the world’s system would most likely perish. The ideology of people is the very basis of worldly riches. If you pick up the latest fashion magazines, music reviews and the like, it is laden with judgment as to what is the latest trend and what is considered out of style. Regrettably, these fads change so rapidly that most people have fits of dizziness while trying to keep up with it all. As the seasons change, so does the make-up. Seemingly as the hour changes, the hottest fashion designer has become lukewarm or has found their home on a snow-capped mountain somewhere.
Even in an ever-plummeting music industry, it seems as if the judgment of others dictates how many CDs and memorabilia will leave the shelves. An artist can be lava hot one week, topping every chart and selling out every venue. But, God forbid they find themselves in the precarious position of either taking a stand on an unpopular topic or doing something to taint their image, the fan base is polarized and the products gather dust. The music can be stellar and the live performances can be legendary. However, the package in its entirety must be enticing in the eyes of men.
What we fail to realize is that all of the people making the news and headlining the concerts are simply people: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23, NKJV). The income tax bracket is the great separation between those who work in an office and those who work on the big screen. They make the same mistakes and have struggles that are tantamount to the average person walking down the street. They have the same flaws and deal with the same ups and downs as every other oxygen-breathing human being. It can be argued that these same people that supposedly live a far more lavish quality of life are also considerably more miserable because of the microscope that is constantly beaming over their lives. People who have no experience in many matters have the opportunity to fly around like birds seeking after their prey, wanting to devour every morsel of depravity for the mere purpose of regurgitating it to a hungry public. This same public is submerged in its own pig pen, but there is no light to shine so that the roaches may scatter.
While these public matters are constantly being wrestled with and figured out, it is the inner sanctity of the home that is under considerable attack. There are many issues that surround us that we have absolutely no knowledge of. Yet and still, we somehow become instantaneous experts and make statements such as “I would never do what they did!” Rarely do we take the time to step into another person’s shoes and examine every detail of the situation. Love gone askew may well be the number one source of people speaking on a subject that they have no knowledge of. The latter part of 1 Peter 4:15 (NKJV) warns us against being a “busybody in other people’s matters,” but we are swift to circumvent this rule.
For example, a couple have been married for many years. They have a beautiful home, outstanding children and careers that most would die to have. All of the bills are paid, the bank accounts are full and even the grass on the lawn is a lush, green color. The cars never break down, the dog’s shots are up to date and everything is going fine. But, underneath the veneer of blissful happiness is the abuse that goes on in the silent of the night. Only the closest of confidants are aware of the situation, and they even know how long this has been going on. Those closest to the situation have the same bit of seemingly sage advice: “GET OUT!” Shockingly, the one being abused refuses to leave “for security reasons.” Instead of having a security guard on the premises to prevent further abuse, the occasional beating seems more reasonable. After all, who would want to leave a situation of convenience and easy access because of a black eye or a knot upside the head? A charge card to every major department store and more than one luxury vehicle in the driveway cries, “STAY AND TAKE IT!” On the other side, the extra make-up to cover up the bruise screams, “GET A RESTRAINING ORDER!” The latter part of the argument wins after every confrontation, and all the friends who disagree say under their breath, “I would never stay in a relationship like that!”
The untold portion of this story is that those “friends” are broke, divorced and quite unhappy themselves. They have not the foggiest idea what is feels like to have an overpriced maid to clean the house, top to bottom. They have never experienced the decadence of eating out five days a week or vacationing at least one month out of the year. They have never tasted the grandiloquence of flying first class or buying a diamond ring “just because it is Wednesday.” They have judged the matter from a one-sided point of view. Although their point of view is utterly correct in this scenario, they fail to understand that anything one-sided is usually tainted. A one-sided point of view is self-serving, and only of any use if the end result is the one that the one with the opinion is seeking. The LORD Himself reminds us that “it is not good to show partiality in judgment” (Proverbs 24:23, NKJV).
Another great example is when a lifelong friendship comes to a fork in the road. Two friends have been through every conceivable trial and overcame them all. Every good time that could be experienced, they experienced them together. Parties, graduations and various other celebrations have been enjoyed in concert. The pair are so conjoined at the hip, they could be Siamese twins if they did not look so different.
Then it happens!
One friend meets a person so incredibly stunning and begins a relationship far from platonic. This new relationship is a blazing fire, and ripple effects of them entering into a room can be felt by all. The other friend is stuck in a cumbersome relationship whose fire is comparable to that of a matchstick. When fire spreads, it tends to burn everything in sight, and subsequently, the disinterested friend is scorched with jealousy. The jealousy sears a hole so deep, they make a move so inconceivable to the human brain. They entice their friend’s mate into a night of masquerading and romance. The unsuspecting friend discovers her friend and her lover in a sweat-filled exchange of affection and is instantly brokenhearted. Plates are thrown, bodily harm is threatened and an impromptu riot has spilled over into the front yard. What in the world is going on here? A friend would NEVER do this to a friend, right? The person who became your chief confidant and greatest motivator has become the source of your greatest affliction. After the smoke has cleared from all the fire that was burned, “advisors” from every side tell you to kill that friend in their sleep! “No way should you remain friends with that person” is very astute advice
n this situation.
The untold portion of this story is that these near former friends have shared more than just a friendship. When one friend’s mother was dying of cancer, the other spent every waking moment they could in the hospital, comforting them as best as they could. When the lights and the gas were turned off for non-payment, one friend provided financial stability for the other and saw to it that certain needs were provided for. When one friend lost their job suddenly and had to abruptly move out of their home, the other opened their doors and would not accept a dime of rent money. When one friend toiled and studied under a mountain of books in school, the other friend was the only support team they had, and even helped to pay for the extra tutoring when the grant money came up short. Photo albums of memories and a catalog of events caught on tape conjure up reflections of the past that literally touch the soul. So much as a week has never gone by with these friends apart, and no matter what the situation was, they protected one another’s interests to the utmost degree. While the incident hurt in places they never knew existed, they have a heart to heart, forgive one another and decide to patch things up.
It is not for us to judge the decisions of others, no matter how much we love them. If we see a pregnant woman walking down the street drinking alcohol, the first thing that creeps up in our mind is she destroying the future of an unborn, defenseless child. While in context this may true, there are underlying reasons for this choice. We did not see the rape that occurred that resulted in her pregnancy in the first place. We do not see the ghetto, urine-infested neighborhood she goes home to every night after bagging the groceries of nasty customers every single day. We do not see the barren cupboards, the wires coming out of the box spring of her bed or hear the sound the sink makes when water wants to come out, but does not. All we is the reaction, but never the actions that caused it. It is bitter and defiantly uneducated judgment that brings us to the wrong conclusions. Consequently, we lose the resolve to be a witness of our own coming out party when the LORD Jesus Christ swept away the mess out of our own carpets.
Judgment shatters relationships, destroys home, bursts apart cities, divides nations and savages everything until world wars occur and mass killings takes place by the millions. At the root of every war, every religious argument and every fractured friendship is the stench of judgment. The stink of judgment makes the aromatic pleasure of love turn foul and noxious. The bitterness of judgment turns the honey-coated flavor of peace into a concoction that puckers the cheeks to the point of agony. Judgment is a shoddy game of role reversal, as it turns smiles into frowns and celebration into agitation. Judgment is as public drunkenness, stumbling from curb to curb with no solid foundation to sit. The very essence of a love-based relationship is to LOVE THEM THROUGH the trials, and not push them away into a deeper state of frivolity. In remembering the times where the decisions we made were not the best, we have the opportunity to glean from experiences and offer mechanisms of hope, love and support that will help them and not hinder them further. None of us have arrived and we will continue to make mistakes along the way. But, the one mistake that we should never make is the passing of judgment upon the heads of one another.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Damainion L. Ewell is the Editor-In-Chief of Gospel Highlights, an all-new Christian lifestyle and gospel music magazine. The magazine was launched in May, 2009, and can be viewed at http://www.gospelhighlights.com. He has been a freelance writer for almost 12 years, and his work has been seen by readers all over the world.
Damainion relocated back to the Washington, D.C. area in late 2008, and his pen is on fire for the glory of Jesus Christ. Along with his magazine endeavors, he is working on his first book, the tentatively titled “The Articles Of Inspiration,” and is enjoying the perks of being the father of three beautiful children.
Damainion can be reached via his official website: http://www.godswriter.com.