I have been pondering the “judge” term as it’s used in our culture. I think we fear committing the sin of judging. But is it the judging we are supposed to avoid — the evaluating a person’s actions and determining if they are right or wrong? I don’t think it is. I think what we should avoid is being haughty when we realize that a person is doing wrong. As I examine myself, I feel this is what is in my head: there is a temptation to feel superior to the person who is in sin. That’s where I feel the danger lies, at least for me.
So I often ask people if it’s the judgment we should avoid, or the haughtiness after we gain understanding of the fact that a person is not obeying Christ. Because of this, I use the word haughty in such discussions.
In my advocacy work, these kinds of conversations often come up because as normal healthy neurotics (I am using the term as Dr. George Simon would, at least I hope I am) we fear being judgmental and unforgiving and bitter and all the other things that people accuse us of — that we often accuse ourselves of as we’re learning to enforce boundaries with unsafe people. It took time for me to learn that it isn’t haughty or unforgiving of me to implement boundaries; rather, I implement boundaries because I must be careful, be safe, and because abusers do not have healthy consciences, they are therefore unsafe.
I have forgiven. I continue to forgive. I pray that the abusers I know surrender to Christ. I know that they haven’t and because of that, I enforce boundaries that don’t match what our culture tells us Christian behavior should look like, namely, acting like nothing ever happened. I have been so blessed to read Mending the Soul [affiliate link*] and to have Dr. Tracy’s perspective of praying that abusers will feel shame for what they’ve done and come to repentance. I recognize that most abusers hates shame. I have learned that this is a common behavior among narcissists. One author labels such projection as shame dumping. Ah! The perfect term for it. Great visual. I have seen abusers flip out when ashamed and find a way that those around them should’ve stopped the shame from coming on them. So I know that for them to even feel shame, not dump it on those near them, and really own it will take an act of God. But he is God! And I can pray. Here is the excerpt from Mending the Soul* that I am referencing:
Prayerfully Hand Shame Back to the AbuserOne of the most empowering things an abuse survivor can do is to prayerfully hand shame back to his or her abuser. Theologians rarely discuss this concept, but it’s a frequent biblical theme. Biblical writers often asked God to shame their abusive enemies. Most likely, this meant asking God to do two things: