The whatevers

*2006 post*

Have you ever noticed that when God is trying to tell you something, it crops up over and over and over again? This is so often true in my own life. God is ever faithful in finding a variety of ways and means in order to get things through this thick head of mine. This has been happening lately in regards to an area of sin in my life. I feel compelled to share what it is He’s been speaking to me about.

A couple weeks ago I was talking with a lovely older Titus 2 woman. I happened to be criticizing something our church was doing. Specifically- the thing I was criticizing was the fact that recently on Sunday mornings, there have been post-it notes stuck on the inside of our bulletins. Our pastor will ask a question during the service and encourage people to write their responses or testimonials on the post-it note. Those notes are then collected and hang on a board at the back of our church for the next few weeks if anyone wants to go read what others wrote. I know… a good thing. But I was critical, because to me it seems like we should have people stand and testify those things. Verbally. As opposed to a written note that people may not ever read. I was going off about this and then this woman gently asked me why I thought they had chosen to do it that way; what was the leadership’s purpose behind it? I answered. She responded to the things I had said by in essence saying they were trying the best they knew how to, in accomplishing these things I had mentioned. I agreed, and thought to myself that she was sure gracious. (Since clearly there was such a better way to tackle this!) It wasn’t until later when I replayed our conversation in our mind and thought to myself (or, more likely, the Holy Spirit whispered to me) that I am judgmental. And I thought then that I shouldn’t be so quick to point out fault with things church-related. Note: I was simplifying this sin to this one area.

A few days later I read an article online directed to Christian homeschooling parents. The writer pointed out how quick we are to judge others who are less protective of their own children, or those who choose a different road. And I saw myself in that description. Again, the Holy Spirit’s conviction.

Then I found myself noticing more- in my speech, my thoughts, and my attitudes- my condescending, judgmental, prideful sinful self. I am quick to judge. Quick to point out the faults (or, what I perceive to be faults) of others. I say or think something judgmental, and it is as if God says, “There. That, Stacy. That was sin.” And it became a bit clearer, this sin of mine.

Then yesterday, I was talking again to this older woman. (I’m beginning to wonder if she has an agenda! Or maybe she doesn’t have one, but God certainly does, and He is using her to fulfill His purposes.) She was sharing about a season in her marriage when she was being critical of her husband. As she prayed about it, she felt like God wanted her to make a list of her husband’s admirable qualities, based on the ‘Whatevers’ in Scripture. (It took me a second to figure out what she was talking about. Oh, the whatevers. In Philippians. Whatever is true, lovely, admirable... think on those things.) As she was sharing this, I was thinking… “Why is she telling me this? Mark and I are doing great. I’ve not been critical of him lately.” Then she said something to the effect of, “Making a list using the whatevers as a guideline was so helpful for me to do during this season with [her husband]….” (Again, Mark and I are doing fine. Really. I guess I’ll file this idea for future use.) She continued, “…and it doesn’t have to just be your husband, it can be anyone…”

And then I got it. Anyone. Anyone I might be critical of. Oh.

And if that wasn’t enough, today in my Bible Study I was directed to Acts 10. When God told Peter in a vision, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”


How often am I calling impure someone who has been made clean through Christ? How often do I judge the motives or intentions of others? The efforts of others? How quick am I to judge or criticize someone’s speech or dress? Or their choices? Their parenting?

Yet God’s way is this:

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about these things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me- put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Honestly, I’d never thought of this verse in that light before. I’ve always thought of these whatevers in terms of what we are taking in (notably TV, movies, books, magazines, music. You know, make sure that what you’re taking in is lovely and honoring to God.)

But to look at others through this lens? To put into practice this looking for the admirable and praiseworthy qualities in others? Oh, yeah. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

I’m a long way from this, but it’s definitely something God is being persistent in getting through to me.

1 comment:

  1. Aug. 11, 2006 - Untitled Comment
    Posted by Rebeca
    Thanks for your hosnesty in posting this. It's definitely a sin I fall into often as well. That is a good verse to apply when our minds and mouths start to criticize others. May God help us both to extend mercy and grace to others just as He has shown to us.


    Aug. 11, 2006 - Words of wisdom, as usual....
    Posted by Michelle
    thank you for this reminder! ummm....does this mean you forgive my "blog-less-ness"?? Love you, my very wise and spirit-filled friend!!!


    Aug. 13, 2006 - Thank-you
    Posted by Anonymous
    Here from Amy's. I really appreciated this post.


    Aug. 13, 2006 - Thank-you
    Posted by Anonymous
    Here from Amy's. I really appreciated this post.


    Aug. 13, 2006 - Untitled Comment
    Posted by momco3
    Thank you for posting this. I carry a strong tendency toward judgment-- thank you for posting a remedy. I, too, will try to meditate on the "whatevers."


    Aug. 16, 2006 - Thank you, commenters!
    Posted by reformingmama
    Thank you.

    Hmm... I'm not sure about that one... KIDDING! Forgive what?

    Michelle (from thisonesfromthegirls)-
    Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment! :)

    Thank you for your kind words... :)



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