Have you noticed that whenever anything happens lately, there is an almost instantaneous rush to judgment? The culture around us encourages us to assume motives without the person whose motives are being judged having said a word at times. This hasn’t just impacted major news stories either. We are encouraged to assign blame, assume motives and give consequences without waiting for evidence, often other than what someone thinks they saw or heard….from some random source that may or may not have an agenda.
The problem with rapid judgments is that they are often wrong. That person we thought was mean because he hated women, actually just got a terminal diagnoses and was distracted and grumpy. The person who cut us off in traffic was actually distracted by a crying child and felt horribly as soon as she realized what she had done.
Your kids will be encouraged by the world around them to jump to quick judgments about the motives, hearts and thoughts of people who have not had a chance to even attempt to share those things. Yet, God wants them to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger. They will be encouraged to be angry with people who God wants them to love, serve and teach about Him. They will be encouraged to hold grudges and get revenge on people God wants them to forgive and teach a better, godly way of living.
The next time your child rushes to judgment or makes assumptions about things for which they have no real evidence, you might want to include these scriptures in the discussion.
- “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.” Proverbs 18:2
- ”Judge not, that you be not judged.” Matthew 7:1
- ”Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:7
- ”With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:2-3
- ”Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written,”Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” Romans 12:19
- ”Be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
- ”Bearing with one another and if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive.” Colossians 3:13
There are many other scriptures you can include in your discussions. Are there people who have evil motives? Of course. Not every one does for everything they do, though. Sometimes your kids may have misunderstood the situation. Sometimes the person is not angry or mean just to them, but to everyone – including themselves. Sometimes people make mistakes or sin in the moment…even when they generally are trying to be loving to everyone. Sometimes people don’t realize what they did or how what they said sounded. Sometimes people are just having a bad day and are taking it out on everyone in their path. Sometimes people are in so much pain, they don’t realize they are lashing out at others in their pain. And sometimes people have evil, ungodly motives, but need a chance to learn about God, obey Him and change their ways.
Your kids will need to understand, they are not God. They cannot read minds and hearts. Which means, sometimes they may be right about their assumptions and sometimes they will be very wrong. They need to understand that being quick to listen and slow to speak and get angry, will help them make better choices and not add to or create a problem situation. Hopefully, they will eventually learn to assume the best motives and be prepared for the worst without deciding which motives are involved until they have all of the evidence (realizing that since they are not God, even with all of the evidence, they may still be wrong in their conclusion).
If you can teach your kids to jump to grace and forgiveness before judgment and condemnation….because they need those same gifts from others and especially God, then our world may start becoming a place where people are allowed to learn and grow from their mistakes and their sins. If they can focus on teaching people who need help finding more godly ways of living rather than mocking and destroying them, the Kingdom will grow and thrive. They won’t learn those lessons from the world around them. They need to learn them from you.