Do I really know you?

I made assumptions without experience and was comfortable I knew the truth.

If I don’t take my mental health meds people object. They tell me I have to take my meds or I won’t think right. If I take the meds and do well they say it is not me doing well, it is the meds that are doing it. They say if they took meds they would have an easy time doing well just like me. If I miss my meds and do poorly it is my fault, not the lack of meds, and I am just showing who I really am.

I don’t know if ignorance is bliss, but it certainly makes a lot of assumptions. At the bottom of https://i-m-4-u.com/ is a poem I wrote called, “I was a perfect parent. . . Until I had children.” Parents . . . perhaps you can relate. I made assumptions without experience and was comfortable I knew the truth.

And I can condemn you because I know why I acted that way in the past and so you must be acting that way for the same reason. By doing this I condemn myself; and I’ve done it countless times.

My brain is an electro-chemical machine. Around age 18 I went off to college in a different city and because I didn’t know Jesus and didn’t know mental health guidelines, I spiraled down in depression. My brain chemistry changed. So now my meds help my brain chemistry function more like God intended.

I would like to not need the meds and am working toward that goal through learning forgiveness, trusting Jesus for what I need, trusting Jesus to produce love, joy, patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control in me. But my brain may be permanently damaged and I may need the meds the rest of my life.

The next time I see someone I don’t understand, may God grant me the honesty to say to myself: I don’t understand them; but I will talk to them and learn.

P.S. This was very convicting to me to write. Like Paul, I am the worst sinner I know, but thank God for Jesus who rescues me.

I can’t hear you over my talking

Many people that I personally interacted with today are worried about what President-elect Donald Trump will do to them;  their relationships, their bodies, their jobs.  I didn’t understand until I thought:  Would I be concerned about my religious rights and freedom of speech rights if Hillary Clinton had won?  I am very scared of the trouble her presidency would have caused me and worried if I would be willing to stay true to Jesus in the face of unknown suffering.

These people are also tired of hearing, “Don’t worry,” “Get over it,” and other mindless remarks by friends, family, etc. that may show they don’t understand, don’t care or both.

What I am trying to do is listen with my heart for their heart.  We are all people and we all have a story.  If I interrupt, judge, give advice am I going to hear their story?  Do I really just want to hear myself talk and confirm to myself how brilliant I am in my own eyes or do I want to discover another beautiful human being and their unique story?

Everyone’s opinion makes sense to them.  If I listen long enough they may tell me why they feel the way they do.  Today I heard why someone believes in doing something I wouldn’t do.  And from their perspective it made sense.

This presidential election proved that most people want to be heard.  And “the other side” has feelings and concerns that don’t make sense.

Until you listen.

Why not judge others?

1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  
We are to judge actions but not motives.  We judge the what and not the why.  The Bible judges many actions: murder, adultery, theft.  But the person was created in the image of God and only God is all-wise and all-knowing enough to truly know why someone did something.

2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.  
When you judge someone what you are really saying is that if you were in that person’s circumstances and you did what they did you would be thinking a certain evil.  This would be based on the fact that you had a similar experience in the past.  And so the measure you use for them is the measure you gave yourself.

3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  
Instead of looking at your brother’s fault, look at his need.

4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?  
If you don’t see your brother’s need you cannot meet your brother’s need.

5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.  
Forgive your brother his fault, assess the need and address the need.

6 “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.
Unbelievers will reject God’s wisdom (and you) until they are ready to receive it.

(Jesus words from Matthew 5:1-6, NIV84)
(My imperfect understanding of the passage.)