Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door! James 5:9 NIV
The abrupt Scripture caught my eye on a plain background amidst all the other cheerful Bible journaling patterns in my Pinterest feed, and I had to go look it up to make sure it was actually in my Bible . . . and accurate. It was, and I’ve been pondering it deeply ever since.
I’ve gone to incorporate into our Scripture Memory Challenge on the Power of the Tongue, but haven’t felt ready to really expound on it till now. If you came over here for a simple Scripture Memory Video and Printable, I hope you’ll stick around because if you’re going to teach this to your children, I want to make sure that you really understand what this Scripture is about, and we are going to do some deep digging into this Scripture. If you came here for a Bible Study then perhaps the Video with actions will help you keep this Scripture in your memory for a long time. PRINTABLE HERE
It seems a pretty severe sort of warning to be teaching to our children, but I believe it’s important. In this Scripture the word for grumble in the KJV is grudge – Grudge not against one another brethren, lest ye be condemned. This word grudge can be defined by more than just grumbling, it’s to sigh, to murmur or pray inaudibly.
Grumbling in and of itself is dangerous, it shuts the door to the blessings God wants to give us; the Israelites missed out on great promises because of grumbling. I’ve dug into this thoroughly in my blog post How To Train Your Children in Biblical Joy, along with some examples of how praise turned an impossible situation around when a missionary chose this instead of grumbling about his situation, even just to God.
The Roots of Grudging and Judging
Now this word grudging adds a whole new dimension to things, because so did Jesus when He came. Instead of just adultery being a sin, looking at a woman lustfully was, because Jesus goes to the heart instead of just the actions, or Jesus goes to the root of the problem not just the fruit on the tree that keeps coming back until we deal with the root.
God showed me in a series of dreams recently that He really wants to deal with the roots in peoples lives, instead of just behaviour management programs, because when we deal with the roots, we are then free to set others free. While ever we are just pushing down stuff because it’s too painful to go there or we don’t know how to, we are slapping bandaids on an infected sore instead of letting the Healer lance it, drain it and fix it.
Some people at the moment, (including me, and my entire family!) feel like their life has been tipped upside down, but God is answering our prayers to be whole.
He gave me the analogy of a well being dug. In order for us to be deep people, and have the living water flow deeply into us, instead of being stuck and dry, He is inserting a drill into the well, and digging up the rocks and roots and junk that prevent the water flowing in. In my brief research of wells, I discovered that inserting a drill into a well instead of digging it out by hand is the most expensive, thorough and quickest way to achieve depth. For us going through this process it doesn’t necessarily feel quick, but God doesn’t want us to stay stuck.
During this process God is dredging up bad attitudes, bitterness, unforgiveness, judgements, pride, lies that we believe about ourselves and Him, and anything else that doesn’t align with His Word.
So back to the do not grumble . . . or you will be judged. What does this mean anyway? This blog post is merely the tip of an iceberg, but God has been dealing with me a lot regarding these judgements.
Let’s have a look at one of the most misunderstood Scriptures in the Bible; a Scripture that gets flung around out of context regularly by those trying to justify their behaviour.
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
What Does it Mean to Judge
Jesus is warning against us judging others when we ourselves have the same problem, but it goes deeper than just declaring judgement on someone. This cuts down to our thoughts.
We can be judging someone by thinking grudging thoughts; eg, judging ourselves to be better, more organised, more spiritual or whatever it is, and then we reap the very thing we were looking down on.
An example that my husband shares is how he was at work on the forklift and was driving very efficiently and an old guy in another forklift was bumbling around knocking things over and driving quite slowly.
My husband thought to himself, ‘I’m a much better driver than him’ (pride, which God hates), and instantly began knocking things over and having trouble until he repented of that judgement.
This can partly explain sin patterns and cycles that we can’t break free of. We could well be reaping something that we’ve sown from judging someone else.
This often goes hand in hand with what are called inner vows, eg ‘I will never be like my mother.’ This isn’t honouring, even if the mother in question was horrid, and God calls us to honour, in particular our parents. Like sowing and reaping, and judging, honouring is one of the Spiritual Laws More Real Than Gravity that Affect Our Lives.
Galatians 6:7 NIV Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.
How do we know if we’ve judged someone or made an inner vow? Ask God, He wants to see us healed and will reveal these to us.
The good news is that when we verbally repent to God of our wrong heart attitude and of our judgement and ask Him to forgive, us He does.
Like in the example of the well that I was sharing, of God dredging up our junk, God has been showing me many times when I’ve judged someone, and I simply pray. “God I confess as sin judging (insert name) for . . . and I repent. I thank you that You forgive me and that you pull up that root so that it can no longer bear fruit.”
This isn’t to mean that we never judge anybody; we need to be discerning who we are involved with, and the Bible outlines the steps to take if there is a brother amongst the believers who is sinning, and we have had to do this in the past, but I hope I’ve highlighted to you the importance of our thoughts and words especially towards our brothers and sisters in Christ.
I’ve struggled at times with situations and confronted them over and over like a bull dog shaking something to death, but this can be like squeezing a pimple over and over and just leaving scar tissue. Yes, sometimes they are ready to squeeze and pop and heal, but other times they aren’t, and grouching about the situation to others just causes scar tissue in that relationship, and negative expectations that are hard for that person to break free from.
Our words have the power of life and death in them and instead of complaining we can begin to call out the opposite of the situation. Instead of complaining that a child is lazy, we can declare that they will be disciplined and diligent. Or instead of saying someone is flaky, we can declare they will be well rooted, like a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendour.
I love the emphasis our Pastors at Glory City Church place on calling out the gold in others, and declaring that over them till that becomes who they are. I was so inspired to watch one of them do this on Sunday with our family. It calls you up to another level and inspires you to be more than what you are, with God’s help of course, but it doesn’t leave you stuck in the mud.
If you want more practical tips for changing your spiritual atmosphere in this way, check out the MP3 Love Not Judge, by prophet Doug Addison which really teaches you how to speak life with your words.