I was encouraging a friend recently who has been blogging online. Their heart is to encourage and empower others. Their action came because God asked them to rise and shine. A good positive community upbuilding thing to do hey?
But barely into the venture, the social media critics came out blasting. Courage was looking wobbly.
We all know that feeling. It’s nauseating. Debilitating. Its enough for some to pack up and head home and let courage belong to others.
How do we fight thru that emotional nausea and stay the course? How do we do the critics and haters, rather than they do us?
One of the key features of the times we are living in is what I call a judgement culture. There seems to be a focus more on what is wrong with a person, organisation or situation as opposed to what God has given them.
Doug Addison a Christian Prophetic Leader shared recently that an “Angry Wind has been released on the earth because too many people were negative and judging rather than blessing and lifting up.”
Proverbs says “Death and Life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it and indulge it will eat the fruit and bear the consequences of their words.” (Proverbs 18:21)
With the spoken word God created the world. (Genesis 1:3) John even introduced Jesus as the “Word” that become flesh and dwelt amongst us. (John 1:14) Just like the God we follow, we also are creators.
Our breathe, our words have created and now we are bearing the fruit of the substance of our words, a culture of Judgement.
Judgement is both an experience and an emotion. Judgement has been defined by Sociological research as “observation with values attached.” In other words, when others express their judgement, they are expressing what they observe of those around them thru the lens of their values. It is putting their values on the actions of others.
Interestingly this same research showed that we judge others in areas where we ourselves are most susceptible to shame. There is nothing like the vulnerability and courage of others, to shake out our shame narratives that we are not enough.
Judgement reveals as much about ourselves as it does those we are judging.
When judgement is in operation within a culture, connection will suffer. It is not just relational connection that suffers. It is connection with our destinies too. In fact judgement has to die for there to be connection.
So how do we be courageous continually in the face of painful and hurtful attacks of judgement? How do we not become what is surrounding us?
As I asked Papa God this, he said to me “Getting curious will shut down judgement and keep you out of it.”
Curiosity is what cats do so well. Over and over again I see cats walk up to something that’s a bit different, that’s entered their ‘dominions’ and simply get curious. I notice they have no hesitation, shifting their position, moving around to check out all the angles, all the squeaks, all the movements of what just entered their worlds.
I have never yet experienced judgement from a cat. Conquest yes. Judgement no.
It is impossible to be curious without shifting our position. When I get curious rather than judgmental, I have left my values, what I think is right, or my ego at the door, and I have ventured into the new. This is the way of empathy. I have decided to move towards rather than move away from that which is different or unexpected.
And as I do that, I let go of my need to judge. Henri Nouwen puts it this way, “Once we are free from judging, we will be also free for mercy.” And this is the point. Cultures of Judgement are cultures devoid of mercy and where there is no mercy, there will be no courage. Mercy is a champion of courage!
Ironically as we get curious in the face of experiencing judgement, we are cultivating one of the key qualities that got us to the point of courage in the first place, curiosity.
So get curious, not judgemental. Get curious, not defensive.
Curiosity. Check it out. It will protect you from becoming what is around us and it will keep you in what you really want, courage.
Keep showing up anyway.
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