Joyce Meyer - Removing Critical Attitudes
If you really look at the whole individual, almost everybody has more good points about them than bad. But whatever we focus on, is what becomes the largest. And so, if we focus on the fault, there are many people who get divorces because they're only focusing on their spouse's faults. Well, thank you for joining us today for our wonderful teaching that I believe that you're gonna really enjoy. I'm gonna be teaching today out of Matthew, chapter 7. And, probably a lot of you, if you read the Bible much, you've read some things in Matthew, chapter 7. That's a chapter that starts out with some pretty firm things about not judging other people.
And so, we wanna look at that from a couple of different angles today. But let's just read a little bit and get started. Matthew 7:1, "Do not judge, and criticize, and condemn others so that you may not be judged, and criticized, and condemned yourselves". So in this, we see right away one of the spiritual laws in the Bible that, you reap what you sow. And we love that when it's talking about positive things, like if I give a nice offering, I'll reap more than I gave. But we're not so crazy about it when we read things like this that, if I'm critical of someone else, then I may reap a bunch of criticism in my own life. And the law of sowing and reaping is so strong, and the Bible is so full of it, that it's not anything that we really want to ignore.
And I personally, I love this, the law of sowing and reaping, because I feel like it gives me a little measure of control over my life and what happens to me in the future. But I don't think any of us wanna just feel like that we're at the mercy of whatever whim happens to fly by. And so, this is really a good news scripture that, if I want more friends, for example, if I'm lonely and I want more friends, then I can get some by just being friendlier, more friendly with other people. And I don't want people to criticize me and judge me unfairly, then I should just not do that to other people. Verse 2, "For just as you judge, and criticize, and condemn others, you will be judged, and criticized, and condemned, and in accordance with the measure that you use when you deal out to others, it will be dealt back to you again.
Why do you stare from without at the very small particle that's in your brother's eye, but you do not become aware of and consider the beam of timber that is in your own eye"? Now some of the modern translations can get really funny with this. It's like, "Why do you try to pick the speck out of your brother's eye when you have a telephone pole in your own eye"? And then it pretty much goes on to say, if I would read every verse, but I'm just gonna paraphrase it for you, that that we really need to deal with ourselves first, and let God deal with us first, and then, we will develop a nice, healthy love walk which will enable us then to help our brothers and sisters make positive changes in their life. But we can do it from a standpoint of loving them and not critically judging them. However, I have come to know for a fact that sometimes this group of scriptures is just taken way out of context. And so, it becomes more like, "Don't judge anybody. Don't judge anybody. Don't judge anybody".
Well, you know, it's one thing to say, "Well, I'm a vegetarian and you eat meat. So I'm gonna judge you for eating meat". You know, that's silly. That's really none of our business, and Paul talked about that in romans 14, that you know, one person eats to the Lord, another person doesn't eat to the Lord. Let everybody make their own decisions. But let's just say that somebody's committing adultery. Now, that's not something we wanna say, "Oh, I don't want to judge you". You know, we still don't need to judge the person, but let me just say it very plainly. Just because you're a Christian, that doesn't mean you all of a sudden are just dumb and blind to what sin is. As a matter of fact, I would venture to say that the closer we are to God, and the more we know the word, the more we should recognize sin, not only in other people, but first and foremost in ourselves. We never want to judge anybody hypocritically, because in romans 2, verse 1, it says, "The very same things that you judge other people for, you do".
Well that's like, "Why would I do that"? Well, it's really simple. We make excuses for ourselves. We always do. There's always a reason why we do what we do. For other people, there's never a reason. And so, we don't want to judge hypocritically, but interestingly enough, and something I don't think we teach on enough, there is a righteous judgement. The Bible says that we are to judge righteously. John 7:24, Jesus himself said, "Be honest in your judgement". So he didn't say, "Don't have any judgement". He said, "Be honest in your judgement. Do not decide at a glance, or superficially, or by appearance, but judge fairly and righteously". I like that. In James 5: 19 and 20, which this is very good I think. "My brethren, if anyone among you strays from the truth and falls into error, and another person brings him back to God, let the latter one be sure that whoever turns a sinner from his evil course will save that one soul from death, and will cover a multitude of sins, procure the pardon of the many sins committed by the convert".
So, here again, he's sayin', "Look, if you've got a brother or sister that is in sin, and you know that they're in sin. If you really love them, then in a right spirit, not a haughty spirit, not a self-righteous spirit, not a hypocritical spirit, but in a spirit of love, you speak the truth in love, that if you don't say something to them for their benefit, then really you're not helping them at all. And so, I really believe that we've just kinda gotten, it seems like people are in the ditch with this thing on one side or the other. They're either judging every move that somebody makes and think everybody should be exactly like them, and if they're not, then they're wrong. Or they become so afraid of judgement, and I've done this myself. I mean I've gotten to the point where I was, "I'm not gonna judge anybody. I'm not gonna judge anybody. Don't want to judge anybody". But you still have to, you know what sin is, and we're called upon by God to deal with those things.
Now, there are situations where maybe it's not my place or position to go deal with something in somebody's life. For example, if my neighbor has a 10-year-old child that is doin' something, getting in trouble at school. Maybe it's not my place to go correct that child. You know, that may be something that I need to leave up to that parent. But there are so, I just think that, I don't know how to say it anyway, but to say it. I just think that there's a lot of worldliness in the church, and not in every church, not in every Christian. There's a lot of wonderful, great, amazingly good things going on. But there's also a lot of worldliness, and I think that there is so much of it sometimes, that people don't even know what's wrong and what's right anymore. And so, I think that we have to help one another. I believe that the Bible tells us that in love we should help one another stay on the right path, because the Bible talks about correction. "Only a fool won't receive correction".
And so, Dave and I operate like that. Once in a while, Dave will say to me, I mean this happens very rarely, but he'll say to me, "I really don't think you should say that like that anymore". And so, I'm glad for that. And once in a while I'll say to him, you know, "I really think your attitude is not quite right in that". And you know, he'll usually say, sometimes we both gotta think about it a little bit. You know, normally, when somebody corrects you, you don't just go, "Oh, good. Thank you. I love that. Could I have more"? But, normally, if you've got anything, the spirit of God in you, it doesn't take very long, and you'll say, "Yeah, you know, that's right". And so, I just want us to be sure that we don't just look at one side of this and not look at both sides. For example, here's another great scripture. Matthew 18:15 through 17. "If your brother wrongs you, go and show him his fault between you and him privately". And this is so important.
In other words, when somebody does something wrong and you clearly can see it's wrong, it's not something to put on social media, which we've got so much of that dumb stuff goin' on today. You know, social media is a great tool for many good things, but it also can be and, in many instances, is becoming very dangerous. It's not a place to spew out hateful attitudes that we personally hold, that are not in keeping with scriptural practices and principles. So if my brother sins against me, it's not my place to go tell three other people, "You won't believe what he did. Well, you won't believe what he did". Or even worse, to put it on social media, I go first to my brother privately. Everybody say, "Privately". And so, that means, I go to my brother and I don't tell anybody else. I pray about it. I get right timing from God. I pray for God to open the right door. I don't think we ever should confront anybody without a lot of prayer first. Because, to be honest, nobody's going to pay any attention to what we say if their heart's not prepared by God to receive it.
I've even learned that in my marriage. If I ever do want to say something to Dave about anything that I feel that maybe he's not handling right, I learned a long time ago, don't ever go do it without prayer. And also, seeking God's timing, because years ago, I was just like, "Bla, bla, bla, bla". And you know, we'd just have a big fight. But it's amazing how God will prepare the way for you if it's something that you really should be doing. And so, we go first to them privately. We pray ahead of time. We pick the right time. Then it says, "If they won't listen, take two or three others with you".
Let's just say that maybe, as one of our very valued employees here, at Joyce Meyer Ministries, that you know of somebody else who is gossiping and causing strife. They're not happy about something, so they're busy trying to make other people unhappy, okay. It's your job, it's your responsibility to go to them and say, "You know, you really need to stop talking about things the way you're talking about them," and come back maybe with some positive things. And if they won't listen, then you probably gonna need to go to your supervisor, maybe the supervisor takes the manager, and everybody goes and talks. And then it says, "If people still won't listen, then you take it to the church". And that still doesn't mean, you put it on social media. It means that you go to the right places.
And so, if we go back to Matthew 7, you know, I think as believers we, we really have to make sure, especially in the days that we're living in, we have to make sure that we have the whole council of the word of God, and that we don't just pull out a scripture here and there that we wanna kinda back up our own pet peeves with. So, we can't just look at this. No, we shouldn't judge other people, critically judge them. There is a difference in confronting somebody in the spirit of love, and the Bible says, "Don't think more highly of yourself than you ought to, lest you also fall". Actually in Galatians it tells us the attitude that we should have anytime that we talk to somebody about something that they've done that's not right. "Brethren, if any person is overtaken in misconduct or sin of any sort, you who are spiritual," and I'm sure we all think that's us, you know. "You who are spiritual," and here's what it says you have to have to be spiritual. "You're responsive to and controlled by the spirit, should set him right, and restore, and reinstate him".
Three levels, first of all you say, "This behavior is not right. I'm willing to help you work through restoration," which means laying out the word, showing people the right way, helping a person come to a place of repentance. And then, "You reinstate them, and do it without any sense of superiority, with all gentleness, keeping an attentive eye on yourself, lest you should be tempted also". I kinda learned a lot of years ago, if I have to correct somebody that works here, which I don't do that much anymore 'cause there's other people that take care of it. 'cause, you know, it's not easy, because we really have not been taught enough how to receive correction graciously. And so, very few people can have any kind of correction and actually really listen and say, "Well, thank you for bringing that up. I'm gonna pray about it". You know, just because somebody corrects you, doesn't mean that they're right, but neither does it mean that they're wrong, because a lot of times, we don't see in ourselves what other people see. And our heart may be right, but we still may be coming across very wrong, and even in a way that might be damaging our witness to somebody else.
And so, I've kind of learned, when I go to people to bring any kind of correction, I always start by telling them something about me, some area of weakness in me. "You know, I wanna share with you a problem that I once had," and then, it's kinda like you're opening up your heart to them so that they can receive, hopefully, what you're gonna say yourself. Or you can say, "I'm not sayin' that I'm perfect, because I am certainly far from perfect. I have issues of my own, but this is something that I've noticed, and I think it's just hurting you, and I'd really like you to pray about, you know, pray about it and see what God says to you". I think that there is ways to do it and still stay, keep with an attitude of humility. And then verse 2 says, "Bear, endure, carry one another's burdens and troublesome moral faults, and in this way, fulfill and observe perfectly the law of Christ".
I think what that means is, you don't just, you know, dump somebody and throw somebody out of your life because they're not behaving exactly the way that you would like them to, but you must be willing to work with them if they wanna be worked with. John maxwell said something recently, at a foreign directors meeting that we were having, and we had asked him to come and speak. He said, "You have to learn how to value people where they're at, not where you'd like them to be". And I love that. So we don't even have to devalue people because they've got something about them that we don't care for, but I just think it's important for all of us to realize that, one of the gifts of the spirit is discernment and I pray for discernment on a regular basis, and I highly recommend that everybody do that, because the Bible tells us that, especially in the last days, that deception is gonna be so great, that if God did not shorten the days for the sake of the very elect, no man could withstand the deception that's coming on the earth.
And I think, to be honest, that's why we, in many instances, see the spirit of the world creeping into the church, because people are not praying for that gift of discernment. And so, they kinda just go with whatever they see, and you can't do that. I know like, even in buyin' clothes, I've had people try to sell me clothes, say, "Oh, honey, that looks good on you," and I'm like, "No, it's too short," or, "No, it's too tight". "Oh, that's the style". And just have to say, "Well, you know what, that is not the style for me. It's not proper for what I'm doing". And as representatives of the Lord, there are things that are not proper for what we're doing. Everybody else may be doing it, but that doesn't mean that it's proper for us to do that. But now, I do wanna look at the other side of judgement for a while today, the side that we normally would teach about, which is not just critically judging and criticizing people.
So, let's just take an example. First of all, we need to learn how to examine ourselves not others. You know, sometimes we walk around with a magnifying glass, just you know, it's amazing how some people are so critical that they can always pick out the faults in people without seeing the good points. And I've learned, I'm sure many of you have, too. If you really look at the whole individual, almost everybody has more good points about them than bad. But whatever we focus on, is what becomes the largest. And so, if we focus on the fault, there are many people who get divorces because they're only focusing on their spouse's faults, and I'm probably talking to somebody right now. And, yes, you did not make a mistake turning the program on, and, no, you should not turn it off. You should listen to what I'm saying.
Let me give you an example. Everybody has like love languages, things that to you, if somebody does that for you, they're showing love. Well, my top two love languages are gifts and acts of service. I like gifts. I like when people do things for me. For some people it's words of encouragement. For other people it's quality time. For other people it's loving touch. We all like different things, and we all have a tendency, until we learn better, to give people what we like, instead of loving them enough to find out what they like, and can give them what they like. So, we may feel like that we're giving to somebody, and yet they don't feel loved at all, because we're giving them what we would like instead of finding out what they would like. And so, because I enjoy getting gifts, I would like it if Dave would send me flowers, if he would show up with a bottle of perfume, or show up with a candle. Well, Dave is not a gift giver. It's just that's, I don't know why, but that's not in his DNA. I mean, I can even say, "I'd like it if you do this". And he'll be like, "Okay," but then he never does it. Or he'll say, "Well, you can get anything you want".
Well, you know, that's male logic, that's not... You know, "Well, what's the point, if I get it, you take it back anyway". I don't care. I wanna know that you stumped around the mall for 2 hours looking for it, and that, you know, you worked really hard to get it. Or, he will occasionally have his secretary send me flowers. That's not the best thing to do either. Or, he will call this one place where I buy clothes and tell her to put something together, and then he'll have somebody pick it up, and then he'll lay it around the house. Well, it's not that I don't appreciate that, but it's still not the same thing.
So, recently we had our 49th wedding anniversary. You know, that is a long time to be married to the same person. And, I mean, the whole anniversary, birthday, Christmas thing does not bother me at all. I mean, I got over that a long time ago, because it's just not his thing. I know that I know, that I know, that I know, that I know that he loves me, and he loves me tremendously. And, but for some reason, I kinda had my head set, that after 49 years, you better show up with somethin'. How many of you know that you can set yourself up for a tragic downfall? And so, nothin', nothin', nothin', I said, "Well, since you're not going to say anything to me, happy anniversary". He said, "Oh, is it that day"? Now, he doesn't even know about this, and I hope he don't watch this program. 'cause, by the grace of God, I managed not to ever tell him that he hurt my feelings. But that was a temptation for about three days. It was like, I was gonna have a speech. "Now you know, bla, bla, bla, bla, bla". And then, I had to fight to not get my feelings hurt.
Well, normally, that's not even an issue for me anymore with him, because I've been through this for 49 years, but for some reason that time, I had an issue with it. So here's what I did that helped me a lot. I made a list. Okay, number one, Dave isn't a gift buyer. He basically forgot our 49th wedding anniversary, but Dave does dishes, ladies. Dave does laundry. Last night, Dave did the dishes. He did two loads of laundry, and the whole time he did it, I say in my recliner. Wow. He takes out the trash. He's easy to please. Oh, he hugs me probably no less than seven, eight times a day. Never does a day go by, I don't think, Dave doesn't tell me that he thinks I'm beautiful. Always tells me, he loves me. Always compliments me on my clothes. I can buy whatever I wanna buy, he does not care. He wants me to have it, and when I ask him, when we have time together, "What would you like to do". He'll say, "I just wanna do whatever you wanna do".
Now, you know what, if I had to trade all of that for a gift once a year, that I'd probably would take back anyway. I think I've got the better end of the deal. And here's the thing, nobody gets everything. And so, I'm just saying, before you start critically judging somebody and getting an attitude about them, try making a list of the good things and look at that. Whether it's your job, your boss, your friends, your spouse, your home, I mean you can find something". I just, I don't like that, I hate this about this house". Well, what do you like about the house? You know, first of all, I've got one. I'm not livin' out on the street somewhere. And so, we wanna be careful about just critical, grumpy, gripey, selfish judgement, but at the same time, we don't want to take these scriptures to such an extreme that we're no longer dealing with things that we should be dealing with. Makes sense? Everybody get something out of this today?