The mental pictures and judgments we make of others are often composed more of our biased perceptions than from reality. This could be because it’s easy to believe things about others that help us feel better about ourselves. Sometimes it’s because we want to feel justified by our inaction of loving behaviors toward others. Read over Psalm 139:24 today and then make a list of those you interact with each week. Take time out each morning to pray blessings over them. If you get a chance to interact with them during this holiday week, share words of kindness and encouragement with them as well!
Matthew 7:3-5 reminds us to steer clear of hypocrisy. ’Hypocrite’ in the Greek language is Hupokrités. It is best understood as a performer acting under a mask and was commonly used of actors on the Greek stage. In the margins of your Bible or in a journal, draw a picture of a theater stage. Above that stage, write down some things you feel may be hypocritical of you—whether in thought, words, or actions. Pray over that list and ask God to help you take off the mask and embrace a more authentic faith.
When it comes to other people, we must remember to assume the most gracious explanation. Matthew 7:1-2 lines it out like this, “Do not judge other people. Then you will not be judged. You will be judged in the same way you judge others. You will be measured in the same way you measure others.” As you interact with others this week, look for the good and gracious in them. Is there someone that you have misjudged recently that you need to make things right with? Go ahead and set a table of reconciliation and hope by apologizing, talking it out with them and finding middle ground. You’ll be glad you did!
Happy Thanksgiving! Meditate on Psalm 107:8-9 today and make some time to write down a list of all the things you are thankful for. Thank God for the things He has blessed you with. Thank him for His loving sacrifice and His redemptive work in your life. Know that you are valued and held dearly in His arms. Also know that you have a loving faith community at Eikon Church that cares about you, is cheering you on, and is willing to journey along with you!
The holidays can lead to stressful situations—which often lead to hasty conversations and snap judgments—that oftentimes cause relationships to suffer deeply. Pretty soon, we become the people sucking the life out of others in the room. Now that the food coma has subsided and the hustle and bustle have had a chance to die down a bit, take a moment to just breathe and clear your mind of stress. Read over Psalm 23:3, then ask God to restore your heart and mind to see yourself and others as He does. Think about and write down some things that you would be willing to do (big or small) in the weeks to come that will help you to reinforce truth and grace in your heart when it comes to the people that you may have labeled as Critical, Controlling, or Needy.
TALK IT OVER
- What are some of your family Thanksgiving traditions?
- Do the holidays tend to be more relaxing or more stressful for you personally?
- What are you planning to do over the holidays to refuel yourself mentally/emotionally/physically/spiritually?
- Why is it often a struggle to assume the most gracious explanation when people are critical?
- Why is it so easy to see flaws in others instead of looking at and confronting our own flaws first?
- Let’s read over Philippians 2:3-4 together. What does that look like for you in the context of your family, spouse, children, co-workers, neighbors, others in your community?
- What are some scriptures that can help us assume the most gracious explanation when people are critical towards us or others that we love?
- How can we as a group, support you during this holiday season? Do you need extra encouragement, or more focused prayer as you head into this prime family time?