Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Judge Not

Matthew 7: 1-5 Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” when there is a log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brothers eye.

I always believed Matthew 7: 1-5, but I don’t think I ever thought about the consequences of  “with the measure you use it will be measured to you.”  I don’t think my husband did either. Like I said before, Jesse’s dad had an affair or two while Jesse was growing up. He saw the pain it caused his mom and for that he judged his father harshly. Jesse and I also saw our very good friends, Bryan and Kerstin go through two affairs and though we were very supportive of their choice to "make it work," I’m sure we had a few judgments we shared with one another in private. Never once did we think we would live out our judgments on others.

Never once did I think about the consequences.  I always assumed that it could never happen to us. I never imagined that one day we would hear and feel the same judgments on our own lives and on our marriage.

I know that I may have beaten you over the head quite a bit with this topic of "judgment" recently, but I think the reason I keep bringing it up is the fact that judgment (other than learning about the affair and dealing with the consequences of it) is one of the most difficult things for someone to deal with during this type of crisis in their life.  I mean come on, what is the biggest reason people don't talk about this with others?!?!?  Why?   Because you WILL be judged.
Not only  was I concerned with the fact that I felt like I would never be able to trust my husband again, but I also struggled terribly with being able to be open and honest with others and trust them to hold my heart with all the feelings I still had for Jesse.  I needed that more than ever during this time.  I needed people to just listen to me and not give me their opinion in return.

I didn't want to say anything wrong in fear that it would make people hate Jesse even more than they already did.  I didn't want to show myself to be unhappy with him because I felt like people would just tell me to "get out" and "move on" from this marriage.  My fear of judgment from others impacted every move I made in my marriage and in public.  The fear of judgment made the healing process SO MUCH longer than it had to be. 

Everyone judges.  It sucks, it's wrong and we all hate being on the receiving side of it.  But for some reason we always feel that we have a right to put our two cents in, especially in sinful situations like this.  I have never seen one person in my life not judge someones life, character, heart, you name it...  I'm pretty sure it's been judged.

I can tell you that I used to be that girl who judged everyone and everything.  If the information was divulged to me, you better believe I would have something to say about it. I just thought I was being honest.  Shamefully, I have verbally expressed terrible judgments of others  without even second guessing the hurt it would cause to others or the repercussions of me verbalizing it.

In no way am I saying I have this figured out  or that I no longer judge anyone, because that is just not the case.  I know that I am sinful and that I fall daily to my flesh.  I know that pride can rise up in me at times and I know that "The {my} heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure." Jer. 17:9.

I know that I am just as bad as all the people who once judged me because I do the same to others at times.  Thankfully we have Jesus, right?!  However, I do believe that this experience has reminded me that my words are a very powerful thing.  I feel that I have become more understanding and less judgmental of others because of the deep-rooted fear I once had of others judging me. 

Immediately after everything came out with Jesse, there were only a few people who had not given me their opinion that I should leave. Even fewer believed our marriage was worth fighting for.  More often than not I heard “Once a cheater, always a cheater.” “Are you sure he’s never going to hurt you again?”or “You can do better.”  The worst statement of them all and the one that always sent me home crying was “Wow, you are much stronger than me. I would kick him out on his ass if my husband ever did that.” You wouldn’t believe how many times I got that statement!

I knew in my heart that my close friends and family were only saying that stuff because they loved me very much and truly never wanted to see me go through this ever again.  But it didn't stop the way it made me feel.  All those statements constantly made me feel unsupported and like I was making the wrong choice by choosing to fight for my family. It made me feel like no one saw the work that God had been doing in my heart or could see where God had brought me spiritually, allowing me to make a wise choice with my family.

It was hard to swallow the feeling that no one trusted me to make the right decision for me and my family because I may have been too emotionally compromised.  It made me feel completely alone, and for me… I had enough of being alone. After four months of rejection from my husband I needed people to love me, and support me, and lovingly walk this out with me with whatever choice I made.

If I was to give any insight into what I've learned from all of this it would be for those going through something like this in their lives now. Do not second-guess yourself.  If you want your marriage to work, fight for it.  Tell only a few people you truly trust with your heart, and ask them to pray for you daily.  When you get to a place of security in your marriage and you feel firm in the choices you have made as a family, then be willing to share your story.  Surround yourself with people who will support your decision to make your marriage work and with people who trust you enough to make the right choices for you and your family.

I also recommend prayerfully thinking back to a situation where you might have judged someone else and the choices they have made in their life.  If you feel that God is calling you to repent for judgments you have made in the past, do it. I'm not saying it's why you are going through this difficult time now, but I DO believe that we can walk out our judgments sometimes just like Matthew 7:1-5 says.

I think the reason I really wanted to touch on this topic again was because I think it's why so many of us who go through an affair keep it private. Unfortunately in my opinion, I believe the fear of judgment is the BIGGEST reason this subject is not talked about more in the church and in the world today.  Though "judgment" is just another hump you will have to get over to get to the finish line, I believe with all my heart that an affair is redeemable. With enough work, passion, love, and respect you can fight for your marriage. Even if you are standing alone because no one thinks it’s worth it, you can push through. I know this first hand. I believe in your relationship as much as you do.

Perfect People
Natalie Grant


Leah said...

I loved this post. I would also fear judgment, and unfortunately, so many people who never want you to hurt again, will pass the biggest judgments possible.

Here's the thing. . . none of us has a guarantee on earth that we won't be hurt again. Yes, you may be hurt again, but we ALL may be hurt. . . or hurt again. We are human, we are sinful, and unfortunately, at times we hurt people.

I hope the people who judged you are now supporting you. I know when people pass judgments, they say it's because they are concerned, but I've also learned through life experiences that the best way to be supportive, is to BE supportive, which often times means just listening and being available to talk to to.

Cara S. said...

Amazing post lyryn and oh so true. It hit home on many levels from affairs, to even just plain old judgement (even without an affair...just judgement in general). So many times we are quick to have an opinion but not so quick to just listen and have compassion. And while I believe people's opinions are truly out of the love they have for the hurting person...many time it does not help and only makes one not want to share out of fear...fear of that judgement!

Mrs. Dirnberger said...

Everyone is judgemental...and reading this post makes me look at how I am judging a friend now (who is going through something like this).

I hope you end the "story" on how happy you both are AND how baby #2 comes along :)

Jarod said...

I think fear of judgement is why we don't share any of the dirty details of our lives ... affairs and all. And I'm afraid that fear is often justified - maybe even more so in the church with our brothers and sisters in Christ. I'm as guilty as anyone of passing judgement on others rather than offering the encouragement and love they need and that God calls me to share. *sigh* Thank you for the reality-check.

Ashley said...

Thank you for posting this. I have judged friends and family members for sticking with their significant other after infedelity however this post (and your whole story) has really enlightened me and has reminded me if God's word and that it isnot my place to make those judgements. I also thank you forbeing so honest. Although I have not experienced an affair first hand, u feel as though your story is helping me in my marriage as a newlywed. Again, thank you and bless you.

Anonymous said...

Great post Lyrn-

unfortunately people love to tell you that you are "stronger than them" and would have "kick his ass to the curb." But in all honestly I said those things to myself and my husband, my husband knew when he told me about the affair I would walk away and take our child, that's one reason why he didn't want to tell me, why he did whatever he could to keep the "lauren" quiet, just keep her from spilling the beans. I KNEW they would never happen to us, NEVER. But when it did, I never once thought those things, I wanted to do whatever I needed to do to keep this ship from sinking.

I still feel sometimes even after it has been months of healing in our marriage people still sometimes looks at us weird. LIke that I can't believe she stayed with that CHEATER, yes my husband cheated but he has been forgiven and yes I have forgiven him and yes life does go on. When you have TRUE love and forgiveness ANYTHING is possible!

Thanks again for sharing your story. I have loved walking through this difficult journey with you this last month.

Karissa Patterson said...

You know I feel like each post is one I could be writing especially this one... How I wish I had kept my mouth shut but instead of fearing judgment I WANTED others to feel sorry for me and not it's biting me in the butt with all the judgment of ME CHOOSING to fight... Back on the right track now and you daily posts keep me going... thank you!


More Than Words said...

Oh my gosh..you are so right about being judgmental. I am very guilty about this. Just today, I learned of someone having an affair six years ago, and I felt that judgmental spirit coming on. Another great post!!