Permission...not granted.

When I think about my defects of character that seem resistant to removal, it seems to me that it begins with PERMISSION.  I give myself permission to forget about my own core values in favor of obsessing over someone else’s. Here is a saying worth tattooing somewhere:  people teach us stuff every day about themselves that is none of our business.  Are our conclusions and assumptions true?  Maybe. Maybe not.

I am not suggesting that we ignore our hunches and intuitions about people when they throw up red flags of concern - that’s just silly.  But what I am suggesting is that we spend as much time thinking about what our own thoughts, words and deeds are teaching ourselves and others as we do observing what we THINK others are teaching us.

Business partners, spouses, team mates, etc. are relationships that are going to require intimacy, trust, and lots of hours working together.  We do need to pay close attention to what these individuals are teaching us. But let’s be honest - we often spend way too much time speculating about people we have no business fretting over.

In a very practical application of this thought - perhaps we could figure out a way to consciously reduce the times we give ourselves permission to assess others.  What can we do to increase our awareness of the ways we judge and critique others?

You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.  Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment?  Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?  

Romans 2:1-4 NIV