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Day 6: Self-Love and Judging Rightly

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Donot judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. Matthew 7:1-2

Self-love requires a good deal of healthy boundary setting. This was something that, as a sensitive person, I never understood. I have always wanted to treat everyone equally. Love everyone as God loves them. Help those who need help and believe the best in everyone. If God can change the hearts of any person and His love never fails then why should I give up on someone? Wouldn’t that be unloving?

For me to believe that evil truly exists in the world is a hard reality to accept. School shootings. Domestic abuse. Human trafficking. Terrorism. The list goes on. Who can understand the heart of someone who subjects others to such pain or inflicts countless injustices for profit?

In the deepest place of my heart I want to believe there is a flickering light of eternity that could still catch fire. I have compassion for those who are hurting and hope for those who cause the hurt. But I am not Jesus. And neither are you.

Acknowledging evil in the world AND acknowledging my own limitations is an act of self-love. I can’t save everyone. I don’t need to try to either.

Jesus warned us saying, You will know them by their fruits. Matt 7:16.

So if He is telling us earlier in that same chapter not to judge and then warning us that you will know them by their fruits, which is it? I believe it is both. You can judge rightly by looking at facts and fruits and then setting boundaries accordingly.

What fruits are we to judge? The fruits of the spirit.

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Galatians 5:22-23.

Self-love, a love that stems from knowing God loves you, is a process of allowing people into your inner circle who exhibit the fruits of the spirit and keeping people out who don’t. Toxic people will drain your time and energy and render you ineffective for God’s work in the world. And God’s work is to help those who want help.

I believe we, as Christians, have to wake up and use the gift of discernment more often. It’s not within our power to change the hearts of those who are overtaken by evil. It’s is within out power to let God deal with them and not permit them a place inside our inner circle. As my five-year-old niece calls it, a trusted triangle.

Think about the three people who talk to most often. Who are they? What fruits do they exhibit in their lives? Do they show love and support and compassion? Do you feel better after spending time with them? Or do they drag you down with drama, blaming and control?

Yes, judging rightly is an act of self-love. Setting healthy boundaries is an essential part of the work we must do to be effective servants of Christ and His mission. Protect your time. Protect your energy. Don’t cast your pearls before swine or they will get trampled. Ask for help if you’re in a situation that is evil and you don’t know what to do. It is not your fault and it is not your job to save anyone. A pattern that has been revealed will continue unless you interrupt it. Don’t wait. You deserve to be free.

You are worth it. God has plans for you and will be with you every step of the way out of the darkness of evil and into the light of His spirit.

Day 6 Lenten Love Prayer:

For so long I have not wanted to acknowledge that evil exists in the world. I thought that my love could save even the darkest of hearts. But today I see my own limitations and know that to love myself means giving up the idea that I can help and should help everyone. You have the power to change the heart of any man or woman who is open to change. Help me to see who is truly open to receiving your love and to discern who is not. Let me not waste time with people who don’t want help. Let me be highly protective of my time and energy and use it in a way that is productive and healthy both for me and those who You might put in my path who I can touch with Your hand. I will do my best to rid my life of toxic people who drain my time and energy. Give me strength and courage to do so. I am so grateful for your direction to judge people by their fruits. Thank you for showing me the way.

Day 6 Scripture:

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Galatians 5:22-23.