Raising a teenage daughter is fun.
Every day is a new adventure of
- retro 90s clothing I didn’t really like when they were in style the first time
- Random sitcoms that make me want to bang my head against the wall
- Some sort of expression of exhaustion
- The tug-of-war that takes place around the messiness of her room and her car
- Constant chatter about classes and classmates
- The endless discussion of people and their stupid choices.
It’s a veritable circus around here.
While Kate is only a junior, she is fully taking advantage of College Credit Plus, which means she actually goes to college full-time instead of her high school. She committed to several clubs, though, so she gets up and goes to the school before school several times a week for her club meetings. It’s through those times and her time with her friends who are still at the school that she gets all the good high school gossip and where she is constantly reassured she made the right decision when she decided to enroll in college full time.
It’s fascinating to listen to her and her friends talk.
Fascinating and depressing at the same time.
It seems like every day there’s a new story of someone making terrible choices or finding themselves in some sort of trouble involving:
I feel like the list never ends, honestly.
I watch as friends come and go, and it seems like every time I ask where so-and-so has been, the answer is always the same– “she’s changed,” or “she’s not making very good choices now.”
I’ve learned it’s better to just respond with, “that sucks, I’m sorry to hear that,” instead of asking any other questions, commenting on how their parents would be so upset to hear that, or asking how it happened since she’s been in the church with us forever.
Judging the Deceived
It’s funny for me to think about all the times growing up I heard sermons from the pulpit on Sunday mornings about the dangers of judging people only to see and hear endless judgment from the very leadership and members of those churches lived out the other six days a week.
That sounds harsh, I know, but it’s reality, and I’m not too vain to think that if I’m not careful, I can fall into that same habit.
When Kate talks about these people she knows who are struggling, making bad choices, or just aren’t the people they used to be, I have a choice–to love them or judge them.
While it might not be that hard for me to love them because I’m not actually even around them, it gets a bit harder when we’re dealing with other people who are in our churches and in our everyday lives.
- It’s easy to look at a husband and wife who are on the verge of divorce and immediately cast judgment on them without knowing any of the actual details of their lives.
- It’s easy to look at the single dad who goes to the bar every night he doesn’t have his kids and think we would do it differently if we were in his shoes.
- It’s easy to look at the parents of the daughter who just got expelled for taking pills in the bathroom and think what failures they must be.
- It’s easy to look at the wife of the narcissistic pastor and question why she still stands by his side year after year when it’s clear he’s emotionally abusive.
It’s so much easier to cast judgment instead of offering love, isn’t it?
Probably the most quoted scripture relating to judging others is Matthew 7:1-3 (TPT):
“Refuse to be a critic full of bias toward others, and you will not be judged. For you’ll be judged by the same standard that you’ve used to judge others. The measurement you use on them will be used on you. Why would you focus on the flaw in someone else’s life and fail to notice the glaring flaws of your own?Matthew 7:1-3
I’m not sure how old I was when I first heard this scripture be completely taken out of context and used as the reason why it was okay to judge other people, but the gist of the argument was that Jesus never said not to judge here; he just said you will be judged by how you judge others.
Because of that faulty logic, these folks used this scripture as the basis for why they had the right to judge others.
Hello, “adventures in missing the point!” It’s nice to meet you!
There is so much good stuff in this scripture passage–none of which encourages us to judge others.
What this scripture is actually encouraging is for us to refuse to be critics of others. Then, comes the one cherry-picked verse I heard over and over again as a child where Jesus does, in fact, say we will be judged how we judge others. But, if we ignore the last sentence here, we miss the entire point–why would we focus on other people’s flaws when we have glaring flaws of our own?
Good point, there, Jesus.
This isn’t a scripture simply about judging others; it’s a scripture about focusing on our own flaws instead of others’.
That changes things a bit, doesn’t it?
The Deceived Heart
Do you know who I think gets the worst wrap in the entire bible?
My gosh, I think I’ve heard Eve blamed for every malady on the face of the earth.
It’s easy for us to look at Eve and think what a failure she was.
I think we need to look at Eve a little differently, though.
When I look at Eve, all I see is a mirror.
In Genesis 3, after the unfortunate fruit-eating event, “…they heard the sound of God strolling in the garden in the evening breeze, the Man and his Wife hid in the trees of the garden, hid from God (verse 8).
This wasn’t an anomaly.
They weren’t surprised God was strolling in the Garden.
- Eve was still deceived by Satan.
- Eve still did the one thing God told her not to do.
Does that sound familiar to anyone else?
- We walk with God daily.
- We listen to his voice.
- We read his words.
- We try to grow in our faith.
- We’re still deceived by Satan.
- We still do the things God told us not to do.
Our Deceived Hearts
Maybe you’re reading this right now and you’re the couple on the verge of divorce, or the single dad going to the bar when you don’t have your kids.
Maybe you’re the parents whose kid just got expelled or the wife of the narcissistic pastor.
Maybe you’re the one sitting in the room judging everyone else.
Regardless of who we think we are, the reality is we are all the same.
We are all Eve.
One of my favorite scriptures for when I’m feeling like a failure, like a pawn of the deceiver, or even like the judge herself is this passage from Romans (TPT)
There is no one who always does what is right,
no, not even one!
There is no one with true spiritual insight,
and there is no one who seeks after God alone.
All have deliberately wandered from God’s ways.
All have become depraved and unfit.
Kindness has disappeared from them all,
not even one is good.Romans 3:10-12
There is no one who always does what is right, no one!
We are all wandering victims of the deceiver at times.
Our Hearts can Recover from the Deception
So often, Eve’s story is told as a cautionary tale, it’s told so we understand the consequences of sin in the world, and it’s told as almost completely negative.
Today, I want us to think about Eve’s story in a little different way–as our own.
Genesis 3:1-5 (MSG) records Eve’s encounter with Satan right before she eats the fruit:
The serpent was clever, more clever than any wild animal God had made. He spoke to the Woman: “Do I understand that God told you not to eat from any tree in the garden?”
The Woman said to the serpent, “Not at all. We can eat from the trees in the garden. It’s only about the tree in the middle of the garden that God said, ‘Don’t eat from it; don’t even touch it or you’ll die.’”
The serpent told the Woman, “You won’t die. God knows that the moment you eat from that tree, you’ll see what’s really going on. You’ll be just like God, knowing everything, ranging all the way from good to evil.”
Eve didn’t just get a hankering to eat the forbidden fruit.Genesis 3:1-5
She was deceived by the Father of lies himself who is described here as more clever than any wild animal God had made.
- He was cunning.
- He was strategic.
- He was smooth.
Satan found Eve’s weakness, and he used it to deceive her.
Just like it works on us when we let our guards down even slightly.
Adam and Eve ate from the tree, gained the knowledge of good and evil, realized they were naked, and they hid from God.
But, this is where the story gets interesting, and this is the part I want you to really hear today:
Their story doesn’t end there.
God immediately disciplines them and gives them consequences, yes.
But, what happens next is amazing:
God made leather clothing for Adam and his wife and dressed them (Genesis 3:21 MSG).
God gave them consequences, but then he took care of their needs. While they had tried to dress in fig leaves, God made them leather clothing and dressed them.
They had just disobeyed the one rule God gave them, and while there were clear consequences, God didn’t abandon them or their needs. No, he met them.
After this, they endured their consequences and were banished from the Garden of Eden, but Eve’s legacy didn’t end there.
Genesis 3:20 (MSG) tells us:
The Man, known as Adam, named his wife Eve because she was the mother of all the living.
The mother of all the living.
God could have easily destroyed Adam and Eve and just started over–created a new Adam and a new Eve and hoped for better luck the second time around.
He didn’t do that though.
He allowed Eve to go on to live out her legacy, despite her deceived heart.Genesis 3:20
(Im)Perfect: Our Deceived Hearts:
Friend, I don’t know where you’re sitting today.
Maybe you’re the one walking into church and feeling judged because of your deceived heart.
Maybe you’re the one in church judging others because of their deceived hearts.
Or, maybe you’re the one who understands deceived hearts and just wants to love those who are suffering the consequences of their own deceived heart today.
Wherever you are today, I pray that you can see that we are no different than Eve–that each of us has been deceived by the Father of Lies and fallen short of the glory of God.
But, that is not the end of any of our stories.
God wants you to live out your legacy–despite your failures, flaws, sins, and deceived heart.
- Who do you identify with the most here? The judged or the judge?
- What truths do you need to cling to today relating to Eve and her legacy?
- How can those truths change how you are living?
oh this is such a hard season for so many of our kids, our grandkids …
God have mercy.
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Kristen, thank you for your excellent article. This is so important. I love where you went with Eve and how we all are sinners, but we, as believers, have God who cares for us.
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Kristen, thank you for this very delicate but powerful post my sister! I chuckled when you said you wanted to bang your head against the wall, too funny! I feel the same way about Eve. I also am asking God today to reveal to me any areas I am deceived in my own life so please pray that I let Him show me. Thank you so much for always tackling the hard stuff for us! Blessings dear friend … 🙏❤️
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Praying for you right now, friend! Thank you for your constant encouragement 😊😊❤️❤️❤️
So powerful in its hope and conviction and exactly a message for a time in our culture where these issues seem to be ballooning. Thanks for this very good word!!!
It is the speck and the plank syndrome isn’t it? I love the thought of seeing ourselves mirrored in Eve’s behavior – that sure does give a different perspective. Thanks for sharing this thought-provoking post!
So many great points here, Kristen. “It’s so much easier to cast judgment instead of offering love, isn’t it?” Yes. May we each learn to better resist the temptation to judge. Judgment never helps anyone. We never know when we’ll be the one in those situations and we will want other people’s love for us, not their judgment. Glad you linked this up at the Grace & Truth linkup!
Such a great post! As a mother of teens who struggled with mental health, I’ve been on the end of being judged. God’s given me a gentler heart toward others as a result.
Thanks for linking up with Grace and Truth!