Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Friendship Part 1--Judging Others

Hello Readers --
Thanks for your patience as we made our changes and adjustments in this blog.
I want to share you with some insight on women friendships that the Lord has given me recently. This series will be divided into several articles that can be used for a devotional time, small group or personal ministry.
Let's begin with a story....
A young couple moves into a new neighborhood. The next morning while they are eating breakfast, the young woman sees her neighbor hanging the wash outside.

'That laundry is not very clean', she said. 'She doesn't know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap'

Her husband looked on, but remained silent. Every time her neighbor would hang her wash to dry, the young woman would make the same comments.

About one month later, the woman was surprised to see nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband: 'Look, she has learned
how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this?'

The husband said, 'I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows.'

What does this story tell us? It tells us that what we see when we look at other women is influenced by the cleanliness of our own window!
I have a few questions for you today.

Have you ever felt judged by other women? Have you ever felt that if someone could just spend some time in your shoes, they would not be so quick to judge you? Have you ever jumped to a conclusion about another woman without knowing the facts of her story? I dare say that we all have done or thought these things.

Every woman has a story; a story that involves challenges and victories, pain and joy, and fear and peace. But what if we were able to spend some time in her shoes? Would what see, think or feel about her change?  
Women know when they are being judged and being judged can be hurtful. Most of us are going to avoid situations like that, aren’t we?

Let's read the story of the Samaritan Woman found in John 4.

6 Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour. A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”

Water was precious and it was often scarce. It was a responsibility of village women to collect the water for each day. Because the evening temperatures were cooler, most women made the trip to the well in the evening.

I think we can assume that the well was a gathering place for the women of the village. They most likely caught up on the news and exchanged information with each other. 

But notice that in verse 6 it says it was the "sixth hour". It was noon-the hottest part of the day. The woman of Samaria may very well been avoiding the village women. Their stares and whispers, or their "shunning" of her, may have been too much for her to take. She chose the parched heat of noon over running into the village women.

Have you ever avoided situations that would put you in contact with a group of women? Can be scary right? And sometimes we avoid it because we believe that they may judge us.

We do not know all that has taken place in the life of the divorced mom who must leave her kids with a sitter so she can work 2 jobs to put food on the table. We might look at her as someone who is more interested in her career than her family. But, perhaps she was involved in an abusive relationship or was deserted by her husband, left alone to take care of her children without help.

Or what about the young mom who is on government assistance and going to college? Are we tempted to make a snap judgment about her? That she is using the system or taking advantage? What if you spent some time in her shoes? We don’t really know until we do.

Prayer Point: Ask the Lord to reveal to you any woman you may have judged without knowing her real story.


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