Time to Resolve

Many people adopt a “new year’s resolution,” and perhaps at the beginning of 2021, it may be even more important for all of us to decide to change some things and let go of other things on which we focused in 2020. I realize that one resolution does not cut it. I propose, for myself, a year of resolution, perhaps because I need to see a lot change in my life! So, I will be periodically writing about RESOLVE: I need to deal with life with hope and optimism, even if I encounter failures. I need to clear up conflicts, find answers to things, to clarify, to understand, to boldly declare and decide with confidence and without apology.

I know that in music “to resolve” is to make parts progress from dissonance to consonance and to bring total harmony. What a great analogy — if only we could do that on a daily basis! I am approaching a landmark birthday this month, and the gift of future days has been reduced. It seems appropriate at this time, to resolve – to determine how I can live the remainder of my life with harmony, while I continue to embrace and enjoy every part of my unique story and my unique part in advancing the kingdom of God on earth.

So, to begin, I resolve to be less critical and judgmental. I resolve to look beyond the surface of things, past the clutter and disharmony, and try to discover submerged potential, like finding gold nuggets in the roughest of rocks. I will reserve judgments for a long time, because being too quick to judge a situation may be overlooking that prize of awareness. This is a shift in perspective from my opinion and my point of view (often derived from just the surface!) to how other people may view a situation. This is giving other persons the dignity and value that they deserve.

On the other hand, and quite humbly, I also resolve to disregard the criticisms of others who see no value in me. As a Christian and a conservative, the bullets of judgment and criticism over the last year have left their marks on my being, my heart and my intellect. And yet, my ego is not as important as my human relationships. Words can be those bullets of destruction, but they can also be the ointment that heals the wounds. If you look past the ugly rocks, sometimes you can see gold. I know who I am, and I know what God thinks of me. I know what God wants me to be – and that is who I will be.

Jesus said, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven” (Lk 6:37; see Mt 7:1). The most common word for the verb “to judge” in the Bible implies discernment (Greek: krinō), and it is important that Christians know how to discern what is right and what is not. Jesus is not asking his followers to turn a blind eye to moral discernment. Instead, he is telling us that it is not our place to condemn others – that is God’s prerogative. Many times, we do not know the whole story about those we are so quick to condemn. Remember that Jesus ate with sinners, and he rebuked those leaders who were so convicting and self-seeking. This is good news for us.

Life is better when we resolve issues and reconcile differences, reserving judgment on those who are different from us. In fact, how we spend each day is, of course, how we spend our whole lives – seeing the positive, or seeing the negative. Let us choose to resolve and not condemn. Indeed, it will take me at least a year to practice this kind of resolution!

Author: Judy

Christian educator, writer, specializing in the New Testament

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