Being Judgemental and Conflict Resolution

Often or not, our opinions and decisions in life are shaped by the media, our environment (family, school, friends) and our experiences.

I have found when I was treating patients in the clinic as a physiotherapist, that people would come in specifically with a form of treatment in mind- they either just wanted massage or taping because they heard from a friend, of a friend, of a friend that it helped, and usually they are not open to any idea outside of what they’ve come in (despite my professional opinion). It takes me lots of backing up of google pictures, research and anecdotal evidence to finally convince that another form (often exercises) will help them. Eventually, they come back in 6 weeks pain free and a total transformed idea of physiotherapy in general and their treatment program.

How is it that we usually take this mentality in our everyday lives? Quickly assuming that we know better, quick to judge and quick to make assumptions with people and situations in our lives? When is it that people actually seek truth rather than hear another persons opinion about another person?

I find it interesting that we could have a full blown opinion about another person, just purely based on their looks and what they wear without ever having spoken to them.  We can have opinions about politicians, preachers, churches, institutions that are shaped in the media without ever investigating the truth for ourselves.

And I am totally a victim of this, so I’m preaching to myself.
A few things happened this week where I was pleasantly convicted.

I met a guy who I thought was a player. I mean, I could have put $1000. I based it purely on his looks. He asked me out a few times and I actually turned the date down twice. I didn’t think that he was persist, but low and behold he tried again a third time for a date. So I went and I was pleasantly surprised. This guy was not only such a gentleman and chivalrous in every way. I mean every way! He opened my car door, snuck to the bathroom to silently pay for the bill, super attentive and did not even try to do anything physically. He had a heart of gold- working in health and actually had a heart of people. We had a great night getting to know each other and even though he isn’t my husband, I would say that I don’t regret going on that date one bit.
It was a wake up call that I quickly had made an assumption that he was player and didn’t even take the time to invest in getting to know him as a person. But I realised that I’m sure I would’ve overlooked a lot of people in my life: female and male.

A really powerful sermon that I vividly remember, was a pastor at Hillsong preaching how he was at the club one night and saw a young girl who was getting pissed drunk. In his sense of righteousness, he didn’t bother investing any time to speak to her because he didn’t want to be associated with that kind of person.

He was severely convicted by God, who whispered to him during another day at church that that drunk girl was God’s daughter, and he loved her as much as he loved him. And he shouldve spoken to her rather than judged her on the sidelines. He now lives with the fact that he never knew who she was. Was she getting drunk because she was heartbroken? Because shes been abused since a child? Because she has no self worth and self esteem, so she has to get drunk to feel worthy? We will never know.

We often jump to conclusions, take things out of context to validate our judgemental opinions and sit by the sidelines thinking that we are better than everybody else. But we aren’t. We’re all flawed humans who are just trying to get about day by day.

Even when people screw up or do something wrong. We also feel like we justified in treating them a certain way because of how they acted. Often this justification comes from selfishness and self-righteousness.

I think the bible puts it beautifully of how we should view others.

37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 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.” 39 He also told them this parable: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher. 41 “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? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Luke 6: 37-42

I remember there was once a time when I was driving home from salsa. I swore I felt something crawl up my leg, so in a panicked state, I parked on the side of the street to rush out of the door to check there was no spider. Without my knowledge, I parked at a bus stop, and the bus whizzed past because I was parked in the spot. I jumped into my car going on my merry way, and before I knew it, this woman tapped on my window. I rolled it down. Without having time to comprehend what was going on, this women starts yelling at me, “You are fucking parked in a bus stop. Because of you, I missed my bus.” Then she stormed off.

I was sooo pissed. I was fuming. How the hell am I supposed to know that I let her miss her bus? Plus she could’ve asked why I stopped on the side of the bus stop. I felt EVERY urge in my body to drive past, yell at her and laugh that she had to walk home now. Before I could do anything, God spoke to me and said “I want you to apologise.”

I was pissed. Why should I be apologising for 1) Something I didn’t do. 2) When I just got yelled at and sworn at 3) She was bitch.

Every inch of my body wanted to yell at her and I chose every part of her to justify why I think she didn’t deserve an apology or my time.

I slowly drove past, and my self righteous anger rose up. And I heard again God say to apologise.

I slowly drove past, and as it was 9:30pm I rolled down my window and apologised for parking in the bus stop through gritted teeth. She yelled at me again “I’ve been waiting for the bus for half an hour.” And in my head, all I wanted to say was “yeah well sucked in, because you’re a bitch.”

But instead I said, ” I’m sorry, can I drop off you at another bus stop?”
She said ” No, I’ll walk thanks”
Me again still fuming ” Well I’m sorry. I swear I thought I felt a spider in my car and I rushed out without knowing that I parked at the bus stop.”

All of a sudden, her complete facial expression changed. She ran over to my car and was like “I’m so sorry!! I’ve had this before too! It’s so scary, Are you ok?”

And all of a sudden, she was speaking nicely to me.
Still in my adamant anger, I re-offered a car ride somewhere and she took it. Still feeling like I was “above her”, I questioned about her day. She told me she had a really hard long day teaching at a university and it was late and she just wanted to go home and rest. Then the bus stop just was the straw that broke the camels back.

And all I could think about how I quickly judged that she was being a bitch and wanted to ruin my night. Me, me, me, me , me. 

I found that I started to invest in a conversation with her, asking about her family, her career and her week. And by the end of the car ride, we hugged and went off in our merry way.

So what I’m trying to say is that, I realised that when I took the focus less on me and more on another persons life, I realised I open to learn more about somebody else’s life and have more compassion and find the facts rather than social prejudices/past experiences.

Great, so judge less and love more? Is that what you are trying to say Sarah? 
Yes.

This is why…

By being less judgemental, we are opening ourselves to more opportunities and less conflict.

We are giving somebody the benefit of the doubt, without quickly rushing into conclusions and assumptions. Can you imagine how much more peaceful, conflict-free, open we would be?

Before rushing and yelling at your partner for not doing the dishes, maybe instead asking him about his day to see maybe he’s had a rough day at work.

Before judging that a homeless person on the street should just get a job, maybe instead ask them how they got there in the first place. You would be surprised that a lot were lawyers, doctors, accountants that got into financial strife that lead them down a rabbit hole.

Before assuming a girl just wants to have all the attention in the social scenario, maybe ask more about her childhood, maybe she’s super insecure and was sexually abused.

Before assuming a guy was cheating on his wife was just a dickhead, maybe he never felt worthy enough. He felt broken from his past.

It doesn’t make it right in the way they treat you. But it makes you be able to take it less personally and label them just as a “dickhead” or “bitch.”

I love how Jesus treated the woman caught in adultery. Never did he judge her. But he loved her and told her to sin no more. Whilst the pharisees just wanted to judge and cast stones.

Are you casting stones? Or are you hugging people in love?

We all fallen short of the glory of God. Which is why we need Jesus.

And I love how Jesus loved us, forgiven us, and accepted us before we even received or loved him. Despite what you think, Jesus died on the cross for you. He sacrificed himself for you, so you could have life. That you could have an inheritance in heaven. That you could have freedom.

But he also died for that person who was a drug addict. That person who murders. That person who swears a lot. That person who cheated. That person who steals. That person who is having sex outside of marriage. Even that person that curses and denies God. Jesus still died for that person. 

If we come from the mindset that we are all equal in the kingdom of God. It puts us back into our places to receive and love on others who may or may not deserve it.

How do we become less quick to judge?

1) Look at the speck in your own eye: 
– Why are you reacting in the way that you have reacted?
– Is it because this has happened to you before? Is this pent up anger from the last few days?
– Why do you feel so critical towards this person?
– Do you have a problem being critical about everything? Are you seeing only the bad than the good?
– Are you arrogant and have a high ego?
– Are you self-righteous? Do you think you are better than them?
– Do you have a problem with people speaking about themselves and like to make it about yourself?
– Are you focusing on you and your needs?
– Are you around people that are judgemental?
– Have you had the time to find the truth? Have you jumped to conclusions?
– Does this person remind you of someone that comes with a negative feeling?
– Do you feel rejected? Do you feel like the situation was unjust?
– Do you feel fearful to open up? Do you feel fearful of new situations or people?
– Have you actually invested in what the other person is going through?

2) Deal with the speck (Your own)
Whats so great about the bible that it deals with every bit of speck that we could have, and verses that we could meditate on.
Have trouble forgiving people who have hurt you? Colossians 3:13, Matthew 6:14-15
Are you fearful? Do not fear or be anxious – Philippians 4:6-7
Are you arrogant? Learn to be humble – Ephesians 4:2
Have an anger problem? (Preaching to the choir!) Ephesians 4:26

3) Call out your brothers/sister speck lovingly
I got tested on this recently. I am known to be very outspoken and call out people’s behaviour outright. But what I’ve learnt and am trying to learn is that you can deliver something in many different ways. One way will be received well, and the other will be received defensively.

Unfortunately for me, I am super passionate and fiery. And I don’t like it when people step on my toes. But that does not justify that I am as equally as accountable for the words that come out of my mouth.

So how does the bible say that we should resolve conflict, seek truth and call out someone lovingly.

Let them speak and actually listen
James 1:19 “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry”

Hear their side of their story. Listen to their journey. It’ll actually blow your mind to see where they have come from and what they have gone through to shape their opinion and their assumptions. They are equally as justified to feel the way they feel, act they way they feel… in their head. Sometimes it can just be a simple miscommunication.

– Forgive them
Matthew 18:22 “ Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.”

If someone actually did something to offend you, hurt you or disrespect you. Learn to forgive them first before you pop your head off at them (again, preaching to the choir). It’ll be recieved way better

Build them up with your words
Ephesians 4:29 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. “

If you are correcting a brother or sister. Do it in a way of encouragement. It also should convict them, not condemn them.

– Give a soft answer
Proverbs 15:1 “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

Try to remind yourself that this person thinks a different way to you, acts a different way to you and respond a different way to you. Try to plicate the situation rather than add fuel to the fire. Make sure your words are soft and not offensive.

Do not do little subtle jabs or passive aggressive remarks. No one likes a bitch.

– Speak to them one on one, don’t gossip behind their back
Matthew 18:15-17 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.”

One of my best friends said to me. ” I rather front stab you rather than back stab you .” Best advice ever. Ask them genuine questions. Try to understand from their point of view. And if you have anything to say, say it to them rather than behind their back.

– Have a gentle spirit 
Galatians 6:1 “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.”

This is something which I find hard doing and constantly something God needs to keep on refining myself on. A really good friend of mine said to me that sometimes even when I think I’m being gentle and saying it in the nicest way possible, it can still come across defensive and angry, when in fact I’m feeling hurt and offended.

Keep on trying to keep the peace and be mindful on how you will come across. 

– Do not look for a fight. Try to reconcile as quickly and soon as possible.
Matthew 5:24 “leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift”

Be a peacemaker. Don’t look for a fight and conflict. It can be in your tone and the way you shape a question that can indicate the tone of the conversation.

Its not what you way, but how you say it. So genuinely want to resolve the conflict rather than keep on adding fuel.

– Pray for them. Sometimes it isn’t our fight. 
Job 42:10 “And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.”

Prayer is the most important. Give it to God. Sometimes it isn’t your battle. And it’s ok.

– Love them. The most important commandment of all
Matthew 5:44 “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”

Most of all is love them. It is hard to love someone who thinks differently to you, act differently to you and lives differently to you. Its also hard to love someone who has wronged you, hurt you or offended you. But I do believe most people don’t intend to hurt, it was done subconsciously.

And God still loves them, so you should do.

Again, this has been a learning curve. Just sharing my insights as I also continue to grow in this space.

I hope we can go on this journey together 🙂

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