So in response to my Judge Not 3 post, Angel left the following comment. (Love Angel!)

Interesting thoughts, but I'm going to have to dissent. I do not see v.5 as an impossibility or rhetorical, but as an instruction from our Lord than needs to be followed. I agree that Christ alone can remove the beam from our own eye, but I am confident that He can do it, and then when He has done it, I believe that He can use us to help others deal with the moat in their own eye. I am reminded of Jesus' words to Peter, "Satan has demanded to sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail, and you, when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers." (Luke 22:31-32) Peter was far from perfect after He denied Christ, but his eyes were opened, he was humbled, he was forgiven, and he was restored, and God used Him mightily to strengthen the brethren.

I've seen God do this in my life countless times. He'll convict my heart about something, and work in me to overcome that sin, and then He'll bring someone into my life who is struggling with the same. I've been able to look at their situation with clarity, because of the clarity that the Holy Spirit has given me to deal with my own sin. In doing so, I am exercising judgment, but it is a judgment born out of love, compassion, and understanding, which desires their edification and maturity. I can comfort them with the comfort with which I've been comforted, share with them the lesson that He has taught me, and point them to the One who can bring them freedom as well. Am I perfect? Far from it! But God chooses to use me anyway just like He has used so many imperfect people throughout time.

The key to this passage for me is that my tendency is to judge or be critical of others for the very things in which I am failing myself. If I will allow the Holy Spirit to turn my judgment inward, I'll realize that I need to give Him the freedom to perform surgery in me before I can be of any use to Him in helping the other person.
But again, I think it can be done, because HE is faithful to do it!

Well said Angel. (And thanks for being willing to disagree with me. I love it when people make me think!)

Heather of the EO responded to Angel's comment this way. (Love Heather too! I'm so blessed!) (These two were late-comers to the conversation, so you get to read their comments.)

And what Angel said is true too, I think. I don't think we can be made perfectly sinless, but I do think that God can work something out in us and then open our eyes to help others with the same issue. But I don't know that this is the kind of judging that Jesus was talking about. It's more like discernment. He was talking more about critical, angry judgment, I think. And that's just always wrong.

So these women brought up something that I've been thinking about a lot. The ability (or not) to help others.

I've been after someone I know and love to write their personal history. They live, right now, a beautiful life of fulfillment, but it wasn't always that way. This woman, (we'll call her Andee) has lived through a lot of difficult things. I think her story is one that needs to be told.

When I first brought this up, (cuz really, I'd like to write her story) her husband immediately almost negated my idea--at least that's how it came across to me. He was worried about her "airing her dirty laundry" and offending people--something that could be easily done. I tried to counter with the fact that you can tell a story without casting blame or aspersions. But I have worried, a little, that her story won't get written and it has made me wonder why I want her story written so badly.

It's all about Angel's response up there. Sometimes, the only person who can help is the person who has been there before you.

A story to illustrate.

Do you remember Salina from the Perspective post?

Amongst other things, Salina was married to a drug addict who was abusive. (There goes my G rating! Rats!) He was always mocking her and bringing her down. One day I came home from church to a message on my phone asking me to come to her house and take her to the ER because he had thrown her down the stairs and hit her. It was not pretty.

Throughout our whole relationship, I was constantly telling Salina that it did not have to be this way. That people aren't supposed to treat each other this way. That there were better options in life. Salina admired me and my relationship with Faramir. She always said things like, "I know. I know." And then went back home took him back.

I remember a day (after the above mentioned incident) when I walked into the office and Salina was in shock. She told me that she had just had an epiphany (actually, she probably didn't use that word, but that's what it was) and that she finally got it. She finally understood.

But it wasn't because of me.

I didn't/can't/have never/(hopefully) will never understood that kind-of situation. I grew up in a stable home with two parents who love and respect each other. I am married to a man who respects me and works with me to make our home a solid foundation for our kids. I just don't get abuse, nor why any woman would put up with it. I had such a solid foundation that I would not have/will not hesitate in getting out of it. I do not understand!

Salina couldn't believe me because I didn't understand. I had never been there, so I couldn't help.

However, that day, in the office another woman had come in. This woman had scars on her arms and hands from where her husband had tried to kill her. She had been in the worst kind of situation and had gotten out. This woman could talk to Salina and say, "I understand. I've been there. I can tell you how it will end if you don't get out, and I can tell you that you can get out, because I did."

And all of a sudden, all these things that I had been saying for months clicked in Salina's head. . .a bit. She suddenly understood that it didn't have to be this way, and while she took him back at that time, she eventually kicked him out for good. . .because of the words of someone who had been there.

I want to write the story of the woman that I love because she has been places I haven't. Her words could help someone out of their pit. There are people out there--her children and grandchildren, who need to know how she got to where she is now, so that if their lives ever get to that point, they can get out too.

Angel, I firmly believe that going through trials and conquering those struggles, with the help of the Lord, does prepare us to lift and help those around us. I agree with you 100 percent.

As long as they want to be helped.

On a side note, I always read the parable of the mote and the beam in a decidedly negative light, because I'm a critical person. Send me your manuscripts! I'll tear them to shreds (and tell you everything that I liked about them.) I am rather too good at finding flaws and wanting to help other people get over them. However, that's not what I'm supposed to be doing. Helping and lifting are a very different thing for me than trying to change another person. The beauty of this parable (and all of them) is that it applies to both situations. :)

I adore you ladies! Every one of you!
8 Responses
  1. Kimberly Says:

    I think there are so many of life's experiences that don't make sense unless you think of them in these terms - that your suffering/growth can helps others. Empathy, insight, discernment...whatever you want to call it. Judging isn't the right word in this case, is it? But it is about seeing clearly, something we can't seem to do unless we truly understand.

    I absolutely loved this post. You and Angel and Heather all put it so well.

  2. LexiconLuvr Says:

    This is another beautiful post, Eowyn. I loved Angel & Heather's responses (and you can see so much of their beautiful selves in them) because I believe that same thing. Sometimes, only someone who has been through that refining fire can help another person over the coals. I kind of liken it to a swamp. A person who has been there, who knows the pitfalls and the safe zones, they can help lead someone else through. That isn't to say that we rejoice in doing wrong (it's a painful process and you don't have to have cancer to know it's bad for you) but it does mean that we have that clarity to help someone else avoid our pitfalls.

    Sorry for the long comment. This really is a beautiful post. Thank you to everyone who contributed to it. Thank you, Eowyn, for helping me think more. *Hugs*

  3. Laine Says:

    not really on the topic of judging, but on the topic of going through experiences so you can be better prepared later, to help and bless someone's life...When I was in the thick of a deep depression related to our infertility I remember crying to my bishop one day and asking, "But why?!" The next time we talked he shared with me that he felt that part of the reason for my suffering was so that I would "pave the way", so to speak, for others that would travel a similar path someday. I would be able to help someone just because I could understand. And, the person (stranger) who helped me the most during my journey, was someone who had gone through this before me. I only met with her for 30 minutes, but she changed everything for me in that short time.

    Love you, Eowyn.

  4. Kazzy Says:

    This is a thoughtful and considerate post, and I do like the idea of our own suffering having some incidental purpose in helping others.

    I have a few friends that have lived through things I wouldn't wish on enemies. I still am shocked by the strength of the human spirit.

  5. How have I missed this post for two whole days? Sorry! Hmmmmm, this is creating such a tumble of thought in me, I can't quite put it into words. I don't totally agree with Angel. I do agree with a lot of it--I just think that if the beam is gone, the lesson no longer applies. Meanwhile, the key is living close enough to the spirit to know when we are meant to say and do certain things that will help a person as the Lord would have us do--I have been privileged to be used in this way on occassion and those times have always been the biggest blessings of my life--it makes the pain of going through what I have gone through to have that particular beam removed utterly worth it 100 times over. But, either the beam is there or it's not. Maybe there is something I'm missing, here . .

  6. charrette Says:

    This is a beautiful and thoughtful (as well as thought-provoking) post. I love the continuation of the dialogue. And I have to agree because recently so many people who have been in my situation, suffering over another family member, have given me a great deal of encouragement and hope. I wqas talking to a friend the other day about a tragic experience, and she said the best thing that has come out of it for her is the compassion. Yes, compassion is huge. It makes almost any trial worth it, in retrospect.

  7. While reading this I just kept nodding my head. It is so obvious now that you three put it all into words that are so easily understood. It is like one spirit/soul speaking to another. I completely agree with you. We are not supposed to judge others (now we are getting into semantics here), but we are supposed to lift others and lift ourselves. I suppose it all comes down to the pure intentions of our heart and only the Savior can really tell where we are at. (And talking about lifting reminds me of the June HT Message and the "Man Down" most recent General Conference talk by Elder Eyring and then the talk called "Lift Where You Stand" by President Uchtdorf.)

    Beautiful, insightful and thought provoking post!

  8. EEEEMommy Says:

    You are so sweet! I love you too! :)
    I apologize for taking so long to respond. Life has been...life.
    As I typed my first comment, I didn't think you'd disagree with it, I was just looking at it differently. You so eloquently brought all the different thoughts together here. I appreciate conversations where people share different nuances that strike them. We were each created uniquely and have such different perspectives, passions, and experiences to share!
    I hope you get to write that book!