Taking the Wrong and Putting it Right

Recently, I’ve been reflecting on the different ways that the hot water of the Spirit can transform our relationships. When you replace judgment with encouragement, your relationships will transform. And you will transform with them. You will learn to better reflect Christ in all that you do.

For example, I reflected last time on parenting in ways that keep your children feeling safe in their relationship with you. If you can discipline without judgment, your children will continue to come to you and talk to you. This is your opportunity to better reflect Jesus with them. Continue reading

Intimacy and Judgment with Children

Last time I wrote about how the the Spirit can transform your intimate relationships. I used the example of approaching your spouse with an attitude of encouragement instead of criticism. How much more can you accomplish if you take the same attitude with your children?

I want a safe environment for dialogue with my kids. I want my kids to be able to talk to me without fear.

“Hey dad, I messed up.”

“What did you do?”

“Well, I was speeding. I got a ticket.”

“Right. So what are we going to do about that? Let’s talk about it.” Continue reading

Intimacy and Judgment

Jesus made the twelve disciples his intimates. He sat with them all the time. He would ask them questions. Once he asked them, “Who do people say that I am?” The disciples replied that people were saying Jesus was John the Baptist, or Elijah. Jesus said, “Okay. Who do you say I am?” And Peter said, “You are the Christ.” Then Jesus warned them to tell no one. Mark 8:27-30

You see, he built intimate relationships with the disciples. He talked to them, asked their opinions, and made them His confidants.

He went on talking to them, and the Bible tells us:

He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He spoke this word openly. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. But when He had turned around and looked at His disciples, He rebuked Peter, saying, “Get behind Me, Satan! For you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” Mark 8:31-33

That’s amazing. Jesus looked at Peter, His dear friend, and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan.” Continue reading

You Can’t Change Others

I’ve been writing a lot about the lesson of the copper pipe and the way that it has liberated me from my judgments. Now I look at all the people in my life, including myself, as more or less the same. In our flesh, we’re all copper pipes. In our flesh, we all sin. We might deal with different sins, and we might deal with our sins in different ways, but we are all sinning. No one is better than another.

I’ve also written that copper pipes never change. We will never change, not on our own. But Jesus can change us. By running through us like hot water, Jesus heats us up with the wisdom of the Spirit. We can’t change ourselves, but in Him, we can be changed. Continue reading

Judgment and Blessings

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Luke 6:37-38

There’s Jesus telling us not to judge, but judgment is such a basic part of being human. Baseball is full of judgments. The media illustrates that better than anything. If you’re doing well, the media tells you you’re great. And if you’re not doing well, the media tells you that too. Not only do they tell you you’re bad, they tell you why you’re bad. They tell you why you shouldn’t be there, and why you should be traded. They even question why the GM signed you!

Every baseball player is paid based on a judgment. I’m paid based on a positive judgment. And if they make a negative judgment, I don’t get re-signed. We’re full of these judgments. It’s a normal human thing. Continue reading

Grace Abounds

It can be uncomfortable hanging out with Christians. I might feel like having a beer, but I don’t know if they’ll accept that. Sometimes I’m not even sure if my thoughts will be acceptable to them, much less my frustrations. I might literally say to myself, “Is it okay to have this thought, or to be frustrated in this area around these people?”

My non-Christian friends do not judge me. They don’t really care if I have a beer or not. They don’t judge me for my thoughts, or for my frustrations. If I’m feeling frustrated about something and I talk about it, they really don’t care. They just accept it. They’ll just tell me, “I know what you mean. I’ve been frustrated that way too.” Their attitude is, “Yeah. You’re normal. Just like everybody else.”

Now that I have this lesson of the copper pipe under my belt, I can sympathize with people in my life who are struggling with something. Continue reading

Witnessing to the Non-believer

The righteous should choose his friends carefully,
For the way of the wicked leads them astray
. Proverbs 12:26

After these last few blog posts, you can see that the lesson of the copper pipe has been so big for me. This is how I deal with my judgment now. It’s opened my eyes to a whole new way of relating and I’m so much more comfortable now. It’s an encouragement to me to think of human beings in their flesh – including me – as copper pipes, and to think of Jesus as the hot water.

I feel very strongly that we are going to have all kinds of people in our lives. If we can stop judging people, then we can better love them and witness to them.

Still, the Bible says, “Be careful in who you hang out with lest you become like them.” Does that mean believers should shut themselves off from non-believers? Continue reading

Judging the Non-Believer

Have you heard comments like these?

“You Christian people think you’re better than us. Christians judge everything everybody does.”

“It’s the Christians who are always saying, ‘Oh my gosh, you’re doing this, you’re bad.’”

People who don’t even know me will look at me and say, “Don’t you make mistakes? Don’t you have flaws?”

Well, of course I do! Continue reading

Saints Who Sin

The more this lesson of the copper pipe sinks in, the more peace I find. I’m so focused on what’s in the present. I’m so aware of what’s going on at any given moment. I’m so mindful of my own feelings and reactions.

I might be driving down the road and a guy cuts me off and gives me the finger. It makes me so mad! I realize how much I want to snap on that guy. But I don’t. Now I realize how irritable I am before I snap at someone.

And you know that in the past, I have snapped on that guy. I’ve been angry. I’ve been frustrated. I have cussed somebody out. And yes, I have flipped somebody off. I’ve done all those things. As a believer!

And I still feel anger or frustration. I’m just getting a lot better about not acting on it. Continue reading

The Lesson of the Copper Pipe, Part 3

You really should try out this copper pipe idea. Here’s what I’ve discovered: if I see the copper pipe in everyone, I don’t judge them. It’s no longer my goal to judge them.

Let’s take anger as an example, because there’s plenty of that going around. When I see the copper pipe in someone, I don’t look at them and say, “Hey man, you’ve got a serious anger issue. You need to clean that up.” It’s not my goal to even think it.

Why not? Because I’m a copper pipe too! I could have a serious anger issue. In fact, it would be very easy for me to have that same anger issue. Continue reading