One of the deadly effects of bitterness is that we can end up releasing words of judgment over people that have wronged us in some way, as a retaliatory response. We forget that our words can release blessing or cursing, life or death. In today’s culture, we can even devalue the power of our words with expressions like, “I’m just saying it like it is!” or “I’m just venting.” These sayings are not inherently wrong, but can be filled with vile judgment against other people. I have watched many people seek to release forgiveness, but still walk with a judgmental attitude against the other person. Retaliation is still in effect, often because the person is seeking justice first. They want payback, because their heart is to see justice manifested.
Resentment and retaliation will take a genuine desire for justice and twist it, to keep us from understanding higher truths: mercy and forgiveness. If you love justice, you are in good company, because God loves justice too! (Isaiah 61:8) But justice cannot be done on your own terms. If you do, you walk out of the grace of God and enter into a realm of pure law. We can often forgive someone, but continue to say things like, “They’re gonna get sick.” or “They don’t know how to manage their money. They’re gonna stay broke their whole life.”
Judgmental words put us in a position of contempt against other people. The word contempt is defined as “a feeling that someone or something is not worthy of any respect or approval.” Contempt sets us up as superior to someone else, where we release judgmental words from our perceived higher position. This is disgusting in the eyes of God, who sent His Son to die so that we could walk in gracious forgiveness towards one another.
Here’s the truth: these judgments can keep you blocked and capped in your life. When you operate justice from your own hands with judgmental words, you put yourself on the level with Old Testament law and you remove yourself from the grace dimension. When you live in grace, you love, forgive and release blessing, while leaving the justice in God’s hands. The sign of someone who forgives is that they genuinely wish blessing on their enemies and do not wish them harm.
Many people fail to move forward because of the judgments they speak about others. These words are harmful to others, but worse off, they keep you stuck in your own life. When we operate in grace, we make sure our words are seasoned with salt, so they add value to others. At the very least, we can still retain a heart of honor, even when talking about the harsh or abusive acts of others.
Question: Describe some practical ways that you can apply today to stop releasing words of judgment and start blessing?
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