Where Judgement Ends and Grace Begins

walk a mile in my shoes

walk a mile in my shoes (Photo credit: zazie_)

I’m up to it again! That title… the one at the top of the page, yeah that one! I stole it! There (confession is good for the soul)!

Want to know something else? I don’t feel any guilt whatsoever for stealing it… sorry, Debbie (is it okay to say I’m sorry and not feel guilty?). I have no remorse because… well, maybe it’s best I share something first.

Recently, a young man left this world by his own demise. Yes, I’m aware that suicides occur often, but this one I knew personally. A mass of stuff flooded his life, seemingly all at once, and he made the choice to end his life.

Much conversation regarding spiritual things came about due to my co-worker’s untimely death. For this I am grateful. In a sense, funerals are a gift… they make people think about things they normally avoid.

I show no remorse for stealing a line from my friend’s post and using it for a title though because of other conversations I hear… those that are down right mean. Because of my co-worker’s response to the negative circumstances of his life, he has been given new names that describe his act as cowardice and without intelligence (terms I choose not to repeat).

I opened Debbie’s post over at Two Minutes of Grace (Walk a Mile in My Shoes, Then Give Them Back) and knew her words were what I was waiting for to present a response to attitudes such as these. Her note really isn’t about my topic, but about the living dealing with the living, and yet it is very applicable here as well. She writes:

“I respect the intent of the Native American proverb: ‘Don’t judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes.’ It’s a plea to stop judging and become more empathetic. When I attempt to understand how you feel by removing my shoes and trying to walk around in yours it looks something like this:

If I’d grown up in that environment…

If I’d been treated that way…

If I had made that decision…

If I’d been so inclined… (end quote)”

Do you see the dilemma? No two humans deal with the exact same situations with the same mentality and focus. We are all different. It’s very unfair to be judgmental of others when we can’t possibly know their mind and heart.

There’s another side of this that should be stated. When we can look at other’s lives and be this critical, we really have misunderstood the grace of God and the devastating effect of sin. Without the intervening grace of God, every one of us is capable of anything.

May our God find us sharing the same grace He shares with us through the shedding of His Son’s blood.

About mtsweat

Seeking the rest that is only promised and found in Christ Jesus, along with my treasured wife of more than twenty-five years, we seek to grow in our relationship with our Heavenly Father, walk with the Holy Spirit as He moves our hearts, loving others always as Jesus loves us, and carry the news of His glory, the wonderful gospel, that gives light and life where there once was only darkness.
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9 Responses to Where Judgement Ends and Grace Begins

  1. Thanks for that post. I once was very judgmental towards anyone who talked suicide thinking, how selfish and thoughtless. The Graceful Lord allowed me to go through a bad spot and I actually had those thoughts, and may have “done the deed” if I could have w/o interruption. He saw to that interruption, and when those dreadful moments passed, so did my finger pointing. Today in recovery, I sense the brokeness others arrive for help with, you know feel their pain, so to speak. To know this marvelous grace…who am I?
    Great job, we all should take to heart your words here.

  2. granbee says:

    May Grace abound, indeed! I can only hope to keep lifting up that phrase as I go through the days ahead. Your post has filled me with a deep yearning to allow God’s Grace to shine through me more and more!

  3. Rob Barkman says:

    Mike great posting. The Lord is blessing you. I really appreciate your ending points about the need to not quickly pass judgments on others. When I was younger I was guilty of this and I regret it to this day. But also, throughout my life there are times when people totally misunderstand what I am going through or what I am trying to accomplish. That is when the false judgments take place. It isn;t a pleasant experience to say the least! Lord bless you, and your wife. I hope she is doing well.

  4. SPTP2011 says:

    Good Morning MT
    You my friend have the gift of encouragement – encouraging your readers and by sharing other writer’s posts it encourages the writer’s
    Your encouragement probably (although you will never know) through the Spirit comes at the right time in other’s lives.
    I will pray for the young man and his family – what a tradegy! We can never understand the pain of others
    God Bless

  5. Debbie says:

    All my lines are yours for free, so there wasn’t any stealing involved. 😉
    While you’re quite right in saying I was directing my comments to the living dealing with the living, your application was spot on.
    We are truly “fearfully and wonderfully made”. We are uniquely designed by God’s hand for His heart.
    When we lose sight of that and begin to presume to know another’s pain or motives or suffering, we are taking away from both His Grace and His Glory.

    My 2nd job out of college (the first was in Corrections) was as the Counseling Director of a Crisis Intervention Center. I learned more about despair in one week of listening than I had in almost 23 years of living.
    I’ll be keeping the family and friends of your co-worker in my prayers, and you as well, my friend.

  6. An excellent post on a touchy subject.

    The suicide rate is growing at an alarming pace – especially in the young adult age group. While the stigma is disappearing – slowly – from mental health issues and depression, there is still a big stigma attached to suicide.
    Everyone needs to know the signs to watch for and be able to help people get help.

  7. Wayne Augden says:

    Mike this is an excellent post. One that everyone should read.

  8. writinggomer says:

    Amen Mike, Amen. This post speaks volumes.

    I can’t believe the way people react to suicide. I can see people at first glance thinking that suicide is a stupid thing to do…remember I said at first glance. Let’s analyze suicide for a moment…I did in the past attempt this by the way so I know what I am talking about.

    When one reaches the point of contemplating suicide, it is because that is how bad the pain inside is. That has NOTHING to do with being stupid. When you fell like the whole world (right or wrong, the feeling is legit) is out to get you, or nothing ever goes right. There just are not people to turn to because you figure they don’t care anyway, or are not capable of helping you. Usually depression is involved, often very severe depression…of which some (like me) are capable of hiding from most people. It’s like a thousand voices (not literally) telling you that you are worthless, a screwup, a good for nothing. There is no way to make the intense pain go away…the emotional pain these people suffer is worse then physical pain. The solution when drinking and other forms of self medicating don’t work….suicide. Then the pain will stop.

    To bad people don’t educate themselves on the warning signs and try to help someone, instead of flapping their lips about something they don’t understand!

    Take a breath…..yes this kind of stuff really irritates me!

    Blessings to you Mike

    • mtsweat says:

      That’s a fascinating contribution of confirming truth you bring Greg. I fear I and most fail to recognize just how different our lives could be if the circumstances were swapped with another. We are totally dependent on the marvelous grace of our God. When we fail to recognize that, all sorts of wrong thoughts and words come gushing forth. God bless good friend and thanks for the timely comment.

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