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It’s been a long time since I wrote one of my Question of the Day posts, so I thought I’d do a short one today.

Question of the Day #6:  What Is a Judgmental Attitude?

First of all, Scripture tells us, ” Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear.” (I Timothy 5:20.  Merriam Webster defines “rebuke” as “to criticize sharply, reprimand.”

Jesus said in Luke 6:37 “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned.”  Merriam Webster defines “judge” as “to form an opinion about (something or someone) after careful thought.”

I think folks get rebuking and judging mixed up sometimes.  In rebuking we stick to the facts, considering someone’s actions compared with Biblical examples. For example, “you did a bad thing.”  In judging we express an opinion of the person in light of their behavior.  For example, “you are bad because you did this thing.”  Let’s not get our rebuking and judging confused.

Hate the sin, not the sinner.

Most people have heard the adage, “I think, therefore I am.”  I believe Rene Descartes was speaking about the sentient nature of Mankind.

I have a slight adjustment to Descartes’ statement:  “I think [X] therefore I am [Y].” The [X] is the variable that represents each person’s individuality, and the [Y] represents the results of [X]. For example, “I think [Jesus is the Messiah], therefore I am [a Christian]. Or, “I think [there is no God], therefore I am [an atheist].”  Who I am determines what I think. What I think determines who I am. There is no separating the two, no matter what you’ve heard.

Each of us comes to an opinion from our own unique perspective. Everything we are colors that perspective. Our lifestyle. Our upbringing. Our relationships. Our religious beliefs. Our friends. Our family. Our heritage. Our culture. Our social status. And a thousand other things that make us unique. When we dismiss others’ opinions we are also dismissing everything that makes them who they are.

Yes, I am a Christian. I consider that a fundamental and intrinsic part of Me; but I don’t force my beliefs and opinions on others, though I speak them readily.  As Americans, we have a right to our own opinions.  And I believe many doctrines from various Christian denominations are merely people’s opinions on what the Bible means.  I’ve heard some folks say, “If you aren’t a member of the ******* church, then you’re going to Hell!”  And I say, God is the Judge of all; let Him do his job.

When we take away a person’s right to an opinion, we strip away their humanity.  Individual opinion/belief is a basic human right.  I am so very thankful that our United States Constitution recognizes that right.  I strongly believe the drafters of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were guided by God in their endeavors, as God also grants us free will.

My fondest wish is for people to respect each other as individuals with differing beliefs, opinions, situations, and habits.  We are all God’s children, all citizens of the same Earth.  Look past hate, see the person.  We don’t have to agree on everything.  We can agree to disagree, and respect diversity.

mjmky:

Thanks Stephani, much good advice in this post.

We all, adults and children alike, need reminding that God is always at work in our lives. We just need to trust that He is doing what’s best for us, as long as we are living for Him. Living in a way that shows our children how we trust God is one of the greatest gifts we can give them.

Originally posted on Investing in a Child:

It is so easy to fall into the trap of “fixing” things with our children. Our interactions can easily fall in to “Do this” and “Don’t do that.” And while our children do need guidance, they need so much more than that.

I love Paul’s letters to his spiritual children. They give so much wisdom and insight. They surely have a lot of guidance on what to do and what not to do. But have you ever noticed how they all begin?

“I thank my God every time I remember you.” Philippians 1:3
“We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you.” Colossians 1:3
“We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers.” 1 Thessalonians 1:2
“We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters.” 2 Thessalonians 1:3a

Notice a pattern?

In each letter, Paul…

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Educate Yourself!!

In this election year, millions of us will vote one way or another for millions of reasons. There are almost as many reasons as there are voters. Each of us has one or two main reasons for choosing our candidate. Foreign policy. Domestic policy. Defense policy. The candidate’s voting history. Social issues such as marriage and abortion. The candidate’s financial status. What Jon Stewart or Glen Beck had to say about the candidate. Who Brad Pitt or Oprah is voting for. Who’s more attractive. Who has the better website.

WAKE UP AMERICA!! Don’t let some talking head or some celebrity tell you how to vote. Educate yourself. Don’t trust the liberal media, or the conservative media. (Yes there are still a few out there.) Learn about the issues that are important to you, then learn what the candidates’ positions on those issues are. Yes, this way is more labor intensive than just doing whatever your favorite celeb tells you to do, but this is YOUR country and YOUR election. An uninformed vote is a wasted vote.

I recently celebrated my 50th birthday.

I think to myself, “I don’t feel 50.” But what is 50 supposed to feel like? I guess I thought by the time I reached 50 I’d feel different. Old. Crotchety. I actually feel better than I did 10 years ago. I began Weight Watchers in January and have lost 45 pounds. I get more exercise now and I feel more energetic.

Most people guess that I’m 35,  just a few fine lines around my eyes. My doctor says my oily skin ages more slowly. Thank you Dad.  And thank you Mom for my darkish complexion, which protects me from sun damage.  I reckon I’m blessed with good skin genes.  My parents both died in their 80s, and looked 20 years younger.

It’s flattering to look younger than my real age, and good genes are part of it; however I think the biggest factor is my lifestyle.  I trust God.  I don’t smoke, drink, or do drugs.  I’ve been happily married for 25 years, my only marriage.  I’ve been pretty healthy.  I don’t have any chronic conditions, and take no long-term prescriptions.  We’ve been blessed with little tragedy, good kids, steady income, and good friends.  We’re not rich, but have what we need.  The face really is an indicator of the state of one’s soul. Stress related aging is a problem for many folks.

There was a time in my life when I let people drive me crazy.  I tolerated disrespect and abuse. I suffered with constant drama. I believed the bad things I was told about myself. I worried about EVERYTHING. But no more. Those people and bad habits are chaff in my life.  They blew away with the wind, and the quality stuff remains. I am happy, content, and loved.

Perhaps the twinkle in my eye, the pep in my step, and the smile on my face just makes me seem younger, rather than look younger.  It makes no difference to me. I’ve learned that what happens on the inside is more important than what happens on the outside.

Thank you God for the wisdom I’ve gained from 50 years on this Earth.

Pet Peeve: Mean Dogs

We have new neighbors. Our new neighbors have two very large, very loud German Shepherds.  They are beautiful dogs. They remind me of the German Shepherd I had as a kid. He was big, and vicious, and he would have gone through Hell fire for me. I loved that dog, as I’m sure my neighbors love their dogs.

I don’t love my neighbors’ dogs. I almost hate them. Every time I step out into my backyard, I am assaulted with loud, aggressive barking–times two.  One dog is tied on a chain, which is another pet peeve of mine.  The other dog is restrained simply by an underground fence. So when I go out to check on my tomatoes, or my daughter goes out to retrieve her bicycle from the garage we see an eighty pound German Shepherd running toward us snarling and barking with nothing visible between us.  Then it stops and continues to bark, while the other lunges against its chain.

I worry because my Shepherd was on a chain, back 35 years ago before people had kennels, and underground fences.  He broke his chain and heavy duty collar several times. He came close to attacking people several times. Viciousness was in his blood. His grandparents were junkyard dogs. His parents were feared guard dogs.  His brothers and sisters left many scarred.  I finally had to find him a new home, because the risk to others was too great.

I worry because my parents’ neighbor had a German Shepherd. She was a friendly dog that liked people. He got her an underground fence to keep her from roaming the neighborhood.  She liked to roam, so she just ran through the “shock zone” of the fence. To prevent this, her owner got a “stubborn dog” collar, with much more shocking power. The first time she approached the underground fence the power of it brought her to her knees. Did this stop her? No. She just figured that she had to get a bigger run at it next time. And so she did. He finally had to put her in a 10 x 12 kennel in their back yard.

Such is the nature of a German Shepherd. They are fierce in everything they do. They are fierce in loyalty and love and defense of their human families. They are equally fierce in aggression toward any perceived threat. They are fierce in their playtime. They will never give in or give up once they focus on a task.  This is why they make such excellent police dogs. The only way to stop a German Shepherd attack is to kill it, unless you are its master and command it to  stop. Even then, it’s not a certainty. I don’t think underground fence is a proper restraint for a dog like that. I believe it’s just a matter of time before it escapes.

So what are we going to do about these scary, vicious animals? How are we going to prevent them from possibly getting loose and attacking one of us?

Build a fence.  Soon.

Ice-Cream Face

In certain ways I still feel like a kid. I think it’s important to keep a youthful spirit as we age, so we don’t get too cynical, like the stereotype grumpy old men. The world and all its trials can drag us down into despair if we let it. Kids live in the moment much more than we adults do. We could learn a lot from them!

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Why do animals and children gravitate to me? I am frequently told, “You’re my other Mom.” Stray animals will pick me out of a crowd. I often wonder what they find so alluring about me, because I don’t particularly try to be alluring.

Recently, my daughter wanted to foster a stray dog we encountered. We agreed to bring him home until we can find him a home. He’s an adorable little (13 pounds) Jack Russell. My daughter calls him her baby, but he has imprinted on me, just like the werewolves in Twilight. He sleeps in her bed every night, yet I’m his #1. I don’t understand it.

My daughter claims a stray cat, or it claims us as its family.  She loves that cat, and the kitten it delivered at our front door. I don’t pay much attention to either of them, but the mother cat loves me. Why? Do I have ‘SUCKER’ written on my forehead? Do animals see me as a free meal? Do I have a special animal attracting aura? I don’t know.

Don’t get me wrong. I love animals. When I was a kid, people called me Ellie Mae, like the girl on the Beverly Hillbillies tv show that constantly brought in stray animals of all species. I’ve had countless cats and dogs. I’ve brought home songbirds, moles, even a blue heron with a broken wing. It was thrilling to see that big bird fly away, after being in a box for two weeks with a taped up wing eating night crawlers and bugs I’d gathered from the yard.  Once an Ellie Mae always an Ellie Mae, I guess.

I’ve always said, “Don’t trust anyone who doesn’t get along with animals and kids.” I suppose they just aren’t my kind of people.

How much better life would be if adults were as easy to befriend as kids and pets!

This is a biggie for me!!  I spent so much of my life being the target of disrespectful people that I guess I just got my fill. Many times I’ve wondered what qualities I had that made people so cavalier with my feelings.  I try to be polite, respectful, caring, and fair with everyone. I think some people see this as weakness, and go for the kill.  Shame on them.

I have little use for people with no regard for me.  I used to get all weepy, and I’d be like, “Why don’t they like me?” I tried to be what I thought people expected or wanted. Yet, I have been betrayed and belittled so many times, it boggles my mind!  Do I have a target on me somewhere?  :)

As I approach the Big 5-0, I have better things to do with my time than worry about ‘haters.’ I’m comfortable with who I am, and I accept that I’m politically incorrect. I try to be the best me I can be, and if anyone responds to that, great. But it no longer worries me if people like me or not, except for my husband, kids, and select family and friends.

I will continue to be polite, and people will continue to not give a damn.

So is the circle of life.

When I first wrote this question, I thought it would take a long drawn out answer, but I realize now that the answer is quite simple.

First let me say that it is best for us to forgive, always. Forgiveness is the release of our anger toward our transgressor, and allowing God to deal with that person. It is God’s job to judge, not ours.

On the other hand, I have my doubts that God holds it against us if we don’t forgive unrepentant transgressors, people with no remorse for the wrongs they committed against us.

The way I see it, God stands as the example for us to follow. God doesn’t forgive unrepentant sinners. Why would God expect us to forgive remorseless people? I don’t think He would.

But I stress again, it is best for us to release that anger and hostility toward those remorseless transgressors. Hanging on to negative feelings just eats at us and destroys our joy.  Give up your anger and allow God to heal your heart. Praying for your enemies is a wonderfully healing process that will help you forgive.  You may have to start by asking God to help you pray for your enemies.

God WILL deal with all sinners one day. (Us included.)  Let go of the hate, and let God do His job.

Remember:  Let go, and let God.

Alberto Monnar

Composer, Saxophonist, Pianist, Vocalist

BunnyandPorkBelly

life is always sweeter and yummier through a lens. https://www.facebook.com/BunnyandPorkBelly https://twitter.com/BunnyNPorkBelly bunnyandporkbelly [at] gmail [dot] com

Zack Hunter | Phenomenological Fiction

Zack Hunter is the pseudonym of a Californian poet, author, artist, musician, and researcher. He lives on a farm and spends his free time reading and writing about whatever it is he is passionate about at the time.

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