When I opened the front door, my next-door neighbor and a woman living in our neighborhood were having a heated debate. A week prior, something happened between her dog and my neighbor’s dog. During this conversation, she informed him she was taking him to court over the incident. I could see the conversation was none of my business, so I went to the side of our house to observe some workmen clearing our side yard.
While standing there, I was praying, “Oh Lord, two neighbors are upset with each other concerning their dogs. One intends to sue the other. Please help them work it out.” So, when the workers finished clearing the wood, I paid them and returned inside our house.
A little while later, my neighbor knocked on my door. Clearly, he was upset by what was transpiring. I listened to him, prayed for him, heard some more, and eventually excused myself to homeschool my daughter.
Immediately, the day’s verse came to mind:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” John 3:16&17 ESV
I thought about that verse. If Jesus came to love and not condemn (or judge), I don’t have to either. His instructions are for me to love my neighbors.
James 2:8 ESV If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well.
Okay, I will love my neighbor by listening and praying for him. I will not cast an opinion or make any judgment. The best I can do is love. That’s what Jesus came to do; I am to be like Him, a follower of Christ. So I will love him, not solve his problem, not say anything negative, and not gather enough information to make a discerning judgment or opinion. So I ask you, how does that help my neighbor by casting my vote in their disagreement?
When division comes between people, our place is not to judge. When trials or accusations come upon a leader, friend, or neighbor, it is not our place to judge. Many times, we gather information to cast a judgment. But is it our place to do so? Why do we do this? I find it harder to gossip if I have not made a judgment in my mind. These two seem to go hand in hand.
While reading the book of Job and the calamity that came upon him and his family, his friends came and, at first, were quiet. But then they started “picking on Job” by questioning and judging him. This was not helpful. It reminded me of how unhelpful I’ve been to my friends who are going through a rough time when I try to solve their dilemma or judge their situation.
Recently I’ve seen harsh judgments between Christian ministries and disagreements between Conservative Commentators.
When I see leaders who once fought on the same side against Satan’s lies now in extreme conflict, it grieves my heart. Harsh words and half-truths are voiced. They want us to pick a side, but wisdom says to stay out of it and pray.
Dear Jesus, you did not come into the world to condemn or judge the world but to save it. I want to be like you. I want to love my neighbor, friend, and fellow Christian, not judge them. I pray that you will take out my cynical, judgmental heart and replace it with a heart willing to pray for and lift up those being hurt by others’ judgments. I pray that I will work for peace. Give me the courage to pray in faith with others and help the hurting. In Jesus’ name, Amen
Taking a lesson from Job, we never know what is going on in a person’s life. It could be a refiners fire they are experiencing. So let’s have compassion on them. Show them our love and kindness. Our kindness splashes water on the burning heat of the trial by fire.
You never may know the root of a conflict. So pray for those you know facing conflict and remember, if you’re choosing a side, choose Jesus’ side by loving, not judging.
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Thank you Kim. This is such an excellent post. I learned a long time ago it is always better to honor the Lord’s teachings on the subject (or any subject) and not throw another log on the fire. I hope your neighbors work it out. I’m sure the Lord will do His best to answer your prayers on their behalf. Blessings to you
Thank you for your encouragement. I’m praying God will bring them a peaceful resolution.
You are so right. The best we can do is to pray for people who are in disagreement instead of picking side. We should be peacekeepers not instigators. Thanks for the advice