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Today’s Truth

In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

(Matthew 23:28, NIV)

Friend to Friend

The women were getting under my skin. Certainly, when I decided to hang-out with them, I didn’t expect their conversations to become so — “immature and juvenile”. Or, that they would loudly talk on top of one another. I expected more than surface talk.

The more I spent time with these women, the more I couldn’t help but size up which ones were “the worst offenders.” I noted how I was “spiritually better.”

I’m more mature. I’m more focused on God. I’m more of the teacher and they should learn from me.

Because of this mindset, I wanted to get away from them. I wanted to be free of their annoying ways. But, at the same time, I knew a lot was not right within my heart. There was some ugliness that I needed to look at, deep within me.

“In the same way, on the outside you (teachers of the law and Pharisees) appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” Matthew 23:28, NIV

God, is their hypocrisy in my heart? Almost as quick as I asked the question, another question landed in my mind, “Kelly, how can you love them, when you judge them?”

Something hit me. I can’t love them with all my heart when I hate their every move. I can’t call them higher through my bitterness and annoyance. I can’t connect to their heart, when mine is hard as stone.

I determined to return back to the group with a change of heart.

I would not be them, by acquiescing to the way they were acting. I would still be me and be true to my own personality. But, I would join them with a humble heart to learn and to see what God had to teach me. Because, I am growing too, you know.

And, as I did this, an astonishing thing happened: I started to have fun. Their lightheartedness was breaking off some of the heavy-burdens I’d been carrying. I started to realize — I liked them. And, that I also could love them – and laugh with them.

Wow. I needed that joy and fun they had, I just didn’t know it before. Through pride, I couldn’t see. Only repentance and a return to humility allow some breakthroughs.

God was calling me into lighthearted fun. It was just the thing; I had no idea I needed!

Sometimes, the thing we most want or need is found right on the other side of pride and judgment, as we love others. Then, be it through a conversation, a comment, or a happenstance situation, God teaches something profound.

You may even, like me, get somewhere you didn’t even realize you needed to go.

Let’s Pray

Father, please give me humility. Instead of judging, please teach me how to go about loving others.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn  

How does judging others prohibit you from loving them? In what ways may God be calling you to lay down your judgment and critiquing ways?

More from the Girlfriends

Kelly Balarie, blogger at Purposeful Faith and author of the new book “Battle Ready: Train Your Mind to Conquer Challenges, Defeat Doubt and Live Victoriously” is passionate about joining hands with women who often find themselves stuck in the pits of life. Step-by-step, word-by-word, her dream is that together they can emerge better – fear, fret and panic-free. Get all of Kelly’s Purposeful Faith blog posts by email for a dose of inspiration and encouragement.

5 Responses to “Loving Hard-to-Love People”

  1. Yvonne says:

    Kelly, this is a perfect devotional for me. What really stood out is loving people when I”m critical of them. Most of the time it”s in my head, but sometimes it’s living “suggestions” on how things can be done, said etc. I never thought of that being linked to being unloving to those I love the most. I do ask God to let me see people through His eyes, but I need to do that more often. I’m most critical of myself & it keeps me from doing or trying things. Thank you for writing this devotional today.

  2. Paula says:

    I love this, I am so critical of all the “left” reporters and people in general.
    I know God wants me to love them to Him and wants my heart to focused on Him.
    Thank you I will share this, sometimes I forget that my (Hymnalitity) (my song to Him) is just for HIm.
    In reality my humility is for all I come in contact with, Jesus said whatever we do for one of these is
    For Him. Thank you I get encouragement from Girlfriends in God.
    Sincerely, Paula

  3. karthye says:

    What a God spank. At first as I was reading in judgement right along with you. Having friends that I felt “high and mighty” over. then bam. It’s not them it’s me.Thank you so much for this.

  4. Yvonne, I am so glad this devotional brought some things to light. I am blessed to have learned from this instance too. We are all growing in love.

  5. Angie says:

    The last few months or more I have been working on not judging others. Through personal counseling through our church, I am trying to dig deeper on why I can be so quick to judge. Where is that coming from and what lies am I believing to make me want to judge others?
    Thank you for the wonderful devotion.

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