Casting stones at others will only leave you bruised.
Shalom Mishpacha! It is my hope that this finds you well, and that as you read this your heart will be opened to its words. I pray that you will find peace and wisdom. I pray that you will come alongside your brothers and sisters and meet them there.
Today I wanted to share a story with you from my life. I’m usually a really private person, but sometimes we have to share things with others because our lives are carefully constructed of good teaching opportunities! YHVH leaves nothing behind.
My best friend is one of my favorite people in the world. Sure, she’s been in trouble since the day she was born, but there’s always been some special spark about her that makes people love her deeply despite her abrupt and often dramatic nature. Everyone used to say she was charmed. I’d believe it.
She always made a way to make things work for her. She’s great at networking so whenever she got in trouble as a kid and young adult- which was often- she would always somehow just slide right out of it. There was always a magic alibi or another person to take the fall- whatever landed her in safe territory. Well, mostly anyway.
Not me. I got caught every stinking time- but I was never any good at being bad. Not like my friend! Still, you had to love her. She just drew you in- it’s what she did. And she and I were as thick as thieves, too. Even though she’s a few good years younger than I am we have been close since we met. So much so that she rarely got mad at me for telling her to do the right thing. Her mother was not a part of her life, and neither was mine- so with me being the older one I just sort of took on the role of mom for both of us. It never really meant that she would actually listen and do what I told her- but I could be open and tell her without judgement. We had a peace about it- I didn’t judge her for doing the wrong things, and she wouldn’t tell me I was trying to replace her absent mother- even if we both knew I was. Still, she never judged me. And I never judged her.
By the time she was 19 she had gotten her first apartment with a boy that she said she was in love with. I told her how happy I was, even though I secretly thought they were bad for each other. But, hey- I was in my own toxic relationship back then so I thought I had no business telling her that they weren’t settled enough to “play house”. I didn’t even know this boy– but I was also a hypocrite- going to church while I used drugs and played house with a man I wasn’t married to either. We were all doing life very badly then, but we thought we were accomplishing real goals.
They became pregnant. It was a surprise to them, and they were young and scared. They had an abortion, and shortly after they broke it off. Sometime after that, she fell pregnant again with a young man that she had decided to have a fling with. They also had an abortion borne out of fear of reproach and uncertainty from disapproving family. She had said that she needed to finish school before having a family.
I was still reeling from the first abortion when I learned about the second one. My friend and these boys were very young– and these were weighty decisions. I tried to swallow this news to the best of my ability, but it was just so devastating. When I lost my first child a few years later, I began to have a really hard time with my friend’s past decisions. She was like a sister to me, and I couldn’t tell her what was happening to my heart on the inside.
For the first time in my life, I felt our relationship growing apart. I loved her so much, but how could she do this? She was better than that! I knew she did a lot of stupid things, but this?? This is murder. Dear God, I’m best friends with a murderer. How can I make her understand that this is wrong? How can I make her see what she’s done?
My mind snowballed into all these scenarios, and dealing with the trauma of the death of my own child I didn’t know how to process all of it. I became obsessed with trying to make her understand how awful these things were, and how she could make it right if she would just reach out to someone. Reach out the Lord…
I tried to speak and kept silent and wept and prayed, but I just couldn’t make it go away, and it plagued me.
OK, brothers and sisters, stop and look–Do you see what just happened there? In my friendship?
I wanted the right things for my friend out of genuine love for her and the memory of her children. I wanted to make it right to lift the weight of grief. I wanted her to do anything to try and make this reality different. I wanted her to understand that abortion is gruesome and horrible and wrong. I wanted her to see that there are better things. I wanted.
Me. I wanted.
And I didn’t think that was wrong.
Listen carefully family; at the exact moment that what I wanted became more central to me than my own childhood friend- whom I loved- I wrongly judged her. When her life and story became secondary to my own need to right a wrong- right then- I wrongly judged her. I had never asked her why she was in those positions in the first place. How she had ended up there, in the grips of such a decision. We had both moved to our first apartments and we didn’t tell one another everything anymore- but I never tried to see this story from her side. I never tried to get a hold on what might have been happening in her private life. I just made my decisions, assumed I knew the whole story, and went with it. I judged her. My best friend. And I was wrong.
In fact I don’t think I had ever really been so wrong in my life. The fact that things went along like this for years, neither of us really talking about it, only served to make things so much worse. She felt the sting of my overcritical eye, and I felt the sting of her growing distance- though I had no idea at the time why she had chosen to put so much space between us. After a few more years, I didn’t really even know my friend anymore. We had both become cold. We barely talked and when we did, it seemed just like old times- but I think it was strained on both ends of the phone. We tried. Then, pretty much out of the blue this past year, the tension snapped.
We had a huge fight and things got really bad. I was cursed out and names and insults were hurled at me through the other end of the phone. We both shouted and hung up on one another. We both cried. I ended up thinking that this was it between us and she’d never talk to me again. No one has ever said the things she said to me. I thought that no one had ever been so mean. I was indignant. I thought I had a right to be. I remembered the verse in Matthew about losing brother and sister and father and mother for the kingdom. I assumed it meant close friends, too. I must have been doing the right thing by taking a bold stand against abortion, I mean- I just HAD to be. I thought that this must have been what YHVH wanted. I thought a lot of things. I thought I remembered her telling me through tears that this wasn’t what she wanted.
Like I said, I was wrong- but my perspective was so biased toward my own agenda at that time that the only thing I was able to see was her wrongdoing. Her sin VS my own perceived righteousness and humility. After I was hung up on for the last time, I spent three days in fasting and prayer. I just HAD to pray hard enough for my long time friend to be saved. I just KNEW it would work. She would come to know the truth and her sins would be forgiven, and things would be set rightly for everyone. Like a talk show or a sit-com. Unfortunately, that’s not real life. It never is.
I can say that she is still my friend. And I have to say that she is still not saved. Just like my nuclear family- she isn’t in the sheepfold, but I love all of them– and I am humbled to be able to say that I learned some very valuable things during the six months that we didn’t speak. I learned that I was an idiot. I learned that there is nothing wrong with trying to walk out your faith with all your might, but the second- the MOMENT- that you allow your heart to be bent toward your own feelings, and the outcome of something you believe in becomes your focus (even if your intentions are good) you stop walking with the LORD. At that moment, you run ahead of Him and you try to do things on your own under the weight of your own perceived power. That’s not a journey, that’s pride. It’s the space we live in when we begin to wrongly judge others, and it’s a dangerous space. That’s not of YHVH. It’s motivated by our own needs, not the kingdom.
To be sure, we are told to righteously judge. We are. But who are we told to judge? Other believers. That’s right. We are meant to judge OTHERS who are LIKE US. We are to judge those within the body of Messiah because that- when done correctly and in love- is called spiritual accountability, and we are charged with the responsibility of loving others in the sheepfold enough to keep them on the straight and narrow path, just as they have the same responsibility toward you. That said, these are believers. They know the spiritual things of which you speak. They understand at least some things about the nature and character of YHVH, as they also understand at least some things about their own duties and callings within the kingdom. They have the laws of YHVH and the scriptures to learn, so they will understand the nature of sin, and if you love them at all, you BETTER hold them accountable.
This is very different from those who do not believe. They are, by definition, pagan. They do NOT understand the spiritual things of YHVH. They know literally almost nothing substantial about His character or His person. The only things the world knows about YHVH is stereotypes and misinformation. And it’s meant to be that way. Only YHVH can open eyes and hearts. Jeremiah 29; 11-13 tells us that when we seek YHVH with our WHOLE HEART that we will find Him. That lets us know that He’s not just always right out there in the open. We must seek. Yeshua tells us the same thing. He says, “Ask, Seek, and Knock.” He gives us the assurance that we will find what we look after, but we have to look just the same. The world doesn’t know to look, therefore they cannot understand.
This is why we are not to judge the world. Not yet. While we are still here we are ONLY charged with the task of living out the word, every day, and with every opportunity granted us we are to embody the kingdom as best we can so that others, like my friend, who are in really terrible situations in this life, might look at us and wonder where our peace comes from. We are to follow as closely after Yeshua as we can so that others, who do not know Him but are bereft and pushed aside by this world, might have the ability to see us and ask about the hope that we have within us. So that they might have a chance to experience Yeshua’s heart through US. That’s what we are called to. But that was not who I was being.
When I judged my friend, I believed that I was simply taking an uncompromising stance on abortion. Is it a sin? Absolutely. Abortion is never the right choice, and at it’s core it is evil. Was I taking a stand against it? No. I was taking a stand against my friend. Not her sin. Not its evil. Her. I stood against her. That’s not what Yeshua taught me. You see, while there’s nothing wrong with hating sin- we are, after all told to hate the things YHVH hates- there’s a serious problem in our lives when we begin to feel contempt toward the person who sinned instead of the sin itself. We cannot possibly have the right to that. It takes away from both our own humility and the reason for the gospel. It makes us hypocrites, because we are ALL sinners. It makes us guilty of passing judgement wrongly. This is not the message of hope that we are taught to carry to the world.
Thankfully, my friend and I have begun the process of patching things together, and I hope that our friendship will survive. During my three day fast I realized, after my initial anger faded, that I really needed to learn more about the gospel that I claim. I learned that it can be very easy to allow sin into your own heart that you might even be unable to see or acknowledge. I learned that we must ALWAYS be on guard for such things, and I learned how to walk a little closer to my Messiah. I love my friend, and I love the person she is. I am broken over the sad things in her life that she felt powerless to change, and I am grieved that her heart is grieved over those decisions, too. I still hate abortion, that will never change. But I learned that these situations are never easy for anyone involved in them, and while we- on the outside- cannot possibly know what motivates someone to carry out such things, it’s not our job to judge them for it.
Yeshua ate and drank with sinners so that He could share the gospel with them without judgement. We have no business doing anything less.
I hope that you and your family are being blessed by this ministry, if you have any questions or need to pray, please reach out to me- I would love to talk with you! Until next time- Shalom!
If you are in a crisis pregnancy or know someone who needs help, please reach out to Heartbeat International for help finding a pro-life pregnancy crisis center near you: https://www.heartbeatinternational.org/about-us There are many people who love you and want to help. Together, we can make a change.
If you are grieving the loss of a child through miscarriage or stillbirth, please know that you are not alone. There are many resources available to help you through this most difficult time.