19.10.2017

Without Judgment

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At our most recent “Growing with the Enneagram” evening on September 28, we focused on “Awareness” and learning to pay attention to the “wake up calls” for each of the nine different Enneagram points. And on each of the slides where I had one of the wake up calls I also had the quote

When we can be aware of what is going on within us now, without judgment, the old patterns begin to fall away

Around the third or fourth time this quote came up, one of the attendees brought up the question, “Shouldn’t we be judging our actions and attitudes if they are wrong, inaccurate, or unhealthy?” This is a very good question. I know that many, if not most of us, do a lot of judging of ourselves or, at least, of our actions and attitudes, and, generally, we believe it is a good thing.

Like many things in life, there is a tension here. On one level, feeling a sense of conviction, recognizing what we do that is harmful to others and ourselves or recognizing our disobedience to God, is an important part of personal and relationship growth. But on another level, we know that feeling convicted or even making changes as a result of that conviction, often does not go deep enough for real transformative change. Responding to conviction is often appropriate for a particular situation, but how much does it help us toward changes that go deeper than just doing or not doing a specific action or set of actions?

The point of Jesus’ death on the cross is that none of us can ever be good enough in ourselves to save ourselves, he had to save us. Yet, even after receiving his salvation by grace, we pick right up where we left off, believing and living as if the best life is found in trying to do all the right things.

In Romans 7 and 8 the Apostle Paul differentiated between living according to the flesh and living according to the Spirit. Romans 7 describes our predicament when we continue to live by the flesh and try to find life only by adherence to an external law, even God’s law. Near the end of the chapter Paul sums up his efforts at trying to find life by obeying all the rules, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” Following the law, making sure we do what is right, seems like it should be the best way forward, but, in the end, it leads us to the same empty place seeking any other earthly goal does.

Romans 8 points to a different way of living and looking at ourselves. It starts out by saying, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Paul doesn’t qualify that by saying “those who are in Christ Jesus and never sin or do wrong or have wrong thoughts.” His focus is not on our being perfect, or even being more perfect, but that God’s Spirit dwells in us.

When we are aware of ourselves and what’s going on inside us without judgment, we are seeing ourselves as God sees us. God is not blind to all that is wrong in our thoughts and actions, but still, as a result of Christ’s work in us, he does not judge or condemn us. When we judge ourselves for wrong thought or actions we are turning back to ourselves and external changes for life, but true life and inner transformation is the work of the Spirit within us. Being aware of ourselves, without judgment, seeing ourselves as God sees us, opens us up to the work he will do in our lives.

Read 1394 times Last modified on 13.11.2017

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