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Being Understood is a Luxury

Christians who are passionate for God can be unaware of the critical need for people to be understood. Many of our brothers and sisters in Christ have deep emotional roots that go ignored.

Jesus took the time to listen and understand. He looked below the surface to the heart.

People pay counselors thousands of dollars just to be heard in hopes of being understood. I believe the new explosion in blogging is a portrait of people needing to be heard, to be understood.

We all have a need to come to grips with the scars from our past, to be honest about our brokenness and become vulnerable and learn to grow through pain. We do this by being heard and being understood.

Bearing Fruit and Growing: Are We Really Loving One Another?

All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth. (Col 1:6)

Are we bearing fruit and growing? Do we really understand God’s grace? Are we loving one another with extensive kindness, in spite of points of difference, and weaknesses? Do we take the time to listen and understand one another?

The Pain from Judgmental Christians

In my previous Fruit of the Spirit writings I came to the conclusion that prayer and Bible study are the answer to producing fruit of the Spirit.

Today I want to question how the lack of fruit of the Spirit in our lives can result from emotional brokenness due to a lack of love and a lack of being understood.

It is said the Christian army is the only one to shoot its wounded. Instead of trying to understand we condemn and criticize. What love is this? I have witnessed more condemnation inside the church than outside. There is a history of Christians seeing specks in others eyes and ignoring the logs in their own eyes.

Recently, I received a letter from a misguided woman calling me an adulteress according to Mark 10 and signed the letter “in love.” She explained she could no longer associate with me because I am an adulterer in sexual immorality because my former husband is alive. It hurts. I’ve received similar emails for over ten years and it still hurts. Some people just don’t understand that I received a full pardon because of Christ’s sacrifice. (I received a Biblical divorce. A lack of basic Bible hermeneutics is the reason for the faulty Scripture interpretation and consequential judgmental attitude.)

At first each stone throwing incident was painful to me personally. But now they cause me to grieve for the body of Christ, for all the broken souls in need of love that are receiving condemnation. How is it we forget Christ came not to condemn, but to save sinners?

The results of the superior and judgmental attitudes I have experienced are evident in my current church relationships. My wounds from the regular throwing of stones are still open. They begin to heal and then more stones are thrown. I attend church guarded. Fellowship is difficult because of my wall of protection.

God knows our deepest hurts and secret shame and accepts us because of His Son. Shouldn’t Christians do likewise?

Jesus Understood and Loved

The Samaritan woman felt worthless, abandoned, and unloved after five husbands. Jesus knew and understood. He offered her forgiveness and love in a nonjudgmental way. Jesus understood what she needed—to feel loved, valued, and accepted. And He knew a relationship with Him would fulfill that need.

Mary’s act of love anointing Christ with perfume was not understood and criticized by the disciples, But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? …

But Jesus understood! When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me. Jesus demonstrated a beautiful, wonderful, faith, hope, and love.

Only through Jesus and God’s Spirit can we have the faith to change a selfish heart into a heart of love that gives a blessed hope for the future.

As a tree bears fruit and grows in size, so the gospel produces spiritual “fruit” in believers. When we take the time to listen and understand we can help bring healing and restoration to others and fulfill the second greatest command, love one another.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:7

Someone you know has a need to feel loved, valued, and accepted. Listen to them this week. Be the one to listen, hear, understand and love.

Robin

Related Fruit of the Spirit Posts:

I began the Fruit of the Spirit Friday Meme to bring myself to study this topic each Friday. I encourage you to join me. You can write on any of the fruits listed in Galatians 5:22: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

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About Robin Sampson

25 comments

  1. This is so fitting right now. I really needed this and yes I find that this is true–I receive more hurt and criticism from my Christian brethren than from the world. It’s as if we can’t trust God to finish His work in other people so we come in and have to “fix” them or judge them.

    What IS helpful is somebody coming along side, truly trying to understand, and praying with you and then sticking with you through your struggles. We each have our areas of besetting sin that we are trying to conquer, but the way some people talk and behave it’s as if they have none.

    How much energy is wasted dealing with these needless criticisms? How much are we distracting each other from the real battles?

    Thank you for bringing this out in the open and for sharing this insight.

    Grace & Peace,
    Ana

  2. Robin,

    Well said. A lot of times, I am the one who throws the first stone. 😳 Thank you for reminding me that it is not my place to judge.

    Speaking from the Heart’s last blog post..The Little Red Sweater

  3. Dear Robin,
    What an awesome post, your absolutely right on this issue….only christian’s kill their wounded. We are supposed to be Christ like, was Jesus ever mean or critical to other’s? NO!!! He said those without sin, cast the first stone. We are all sinful, we all say, act and do things wrong, it’s only by God’s mercy and grace we are in right standing with HIM!!! Have a blessed weekend Robin!!!

  4. Robin ((HUGS)),
    Thank you for posting this to your blog. I can relate to both sides of the argument, and deeply appreciate your words.
    You are a treasure.

    With love,
    Denise

    Denise Opper’s last blog post..Know of Any Good Lesson Planners or Planners in General?

  5. I have so much I could grieve about, if I let the enemy rule over me. I am thankful for God’s forgiveness and His free gift of grace. Unfortunately, attacks still hurt…BAD. I wish I didn’t walk around with a towering wall around my heart. But I do, allowing only a select few to enter the depths of my heart.

    I wrote a brief post about showing love last month. I began to write a bullet list, but I’ll just link it instead: http://www.heartofwisdom.com/PUREANDSENSIBLE/?p=687

    In regards to the accusations of being an “adulteress”, the “mean” words are not spoken “in love”, but out of judgment. 1) a lack of basic Bible hermeneutics is the reason for the faulty Scripture interpretation and consequential judgmental attitude. Yes, and I would like to add that we all have made AT LEAST one decision that we regret and must live out the consequences for. Even if someone did not have a “biblical divorce” and was truly repentant for the hardness of their hearts and many of the other things involved, you do not make restitution by divorcing your current husband to re-marry your prior husband. Grace, Grace, Grace. Thank the Lord for His precious redeeming blood that covers me from head to toe! 2) In godliness and “in love”, we make it a point to restrain our lips, pray for the person we are casting ungodly judgment on, and pray for our own hearts. It is from a lack of wisdom and discernment that we speak hastily, aka foolishly. I am not precluded from this and that’s why I earnestly seek to surround myself with like-minded women who will hold me accountable, sharpen me, and encourage me – not judge.

    “For God is love and those who demonstrate love, know God, and are born of God.” (1 John 4:7-8)

    We do not fear, because God is perfecting love in us.

    Trusting that God has bigger plans for me through these kinds of trials often times takes more faith than I possess. I must remind myself of God’s character, knowing He has plans to use our hurts in ways to mold our character, bring hope to the world, and bring glory to Him.

    We have hope in God.

    Romans 15:4 NKJV “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.”

    Thank you for challenging me and offering such deeply heart inspiring posts. Love, Leinani

    Pure and Sensible’s last blog post..The debate we’ve all been waiting for, but?

  6. Robin,

    There are very few women who have spoken to my heart the way you have. I believe that people fail to realize that sin is sin and even if you had, I know you didn’t, but even if you had committed adultery is that any worse than lying, cheating, stealing, jealousy, anger… on and on?

    I wrote a post a while back about this very thing: http://www.inpursuitofproverbs31.com/2007/05/i-am-so-you-dont-have-to-be_29.html

    God showed me then that we can’t judge and criticize our Christian brothers and sisters. This is His army and we aren’t training ourselves as we should. Do you know that those soldiers hold the life of the person next to them more dear to them than their own? They would literally kill their own flesh to save another yet we won’t even keep our unbiblical thoughts to ourself when it would benefit others. How much more should we be doing?

    Great thought provoking post, Robin. You are awesome, inspiring, and I love ya!

    Amy Bayliss’s last blog post..Take Jesus To Work Day

  7. Once again, you blessed my heart. I sat with a dear friend last night in a restaurant discussing an aspect of this very topic.
    As christian homeschool moms of large families, she & I often endure critism from the very “christians” we go to church with, so as a result we have also become very guarded. I don’t ask them why they only have 2 kids or why they take their kids to public school everyday. I don’t ask them why they allow their daughters to date at 12 yrs old and wear very short skirts. So, why do they feel the right to critize what we do? I’m not going to argue with them, I just feel convicted to live as the Lord has instructed me & let my life & my family speak for me. Some people, though I’m just not sure I have enough grace to hold my tongue…”place a guard over my mouth, O Lord!” 🙄

    Thank you for the reminder of what the fruit in our life should look like.
    Blessings!
    Dana

    Dana B.’s last blog post..Short story about my miscarriage

  8. Robin,

    Thank you for sharing so openly. I love how transparent you are with your heart, despite the hurt that you have endured. I really admire that about you and want to emulate it in my own life, for I can be so self-protective.

    What you said about listening to one another’s hearts strikes a chord with me regarding my children. Just last night my husband and I were talking about how we need to change our approach to our children, to be less hard on them and more loving. I think what you said holds a key, and I will be sharing it with him. I don’t want them to grow up and need to seek counseling just to feel heard!

    I am reminded of Song of Solomon 1:6, “Do not look upon me, because I am dark …” (NKJV). When I was studying this a few months ago, I felt convicted that I tend to look too much at the darkness in fellow Christians, but that is not what God sees when He looks at them. He sees us as “dark, but lovely” (1:5), and even in our weakness and brokenness, he calls us “fairest among women” (1:8) and says over us, “Behold, you are fair, my love!” (1:15) Yes, Robin, behold you are fair, to Him and to me.

    Michelle

    Michelle’s last blog post..End of Day

  9. a great word and so true.

  10. I have been on both sides of this kind of criticism, and I thank you for your firm and encouraging words to really evaluate my part in it. We are all sinners saved by grace alone, all on different parts of our faith journey.

    May God help us to embrace our brothers and sisters the way Christ would have done (and does!).

    Thank you for sharing your hurts and being truthful about the slow healing of them.

    Be blessed this week. 🙂

    Bobbie-Jo’s last blog post..Things unrelated

  11. THanks Robin for sharing this very convicting and true post.

    I’m sure in part this is why Jesus put such great emphasis on loving EACH OTHER! When we’ve been hurt by other christians it hurts the most and yet the Lord calls us to bear the pain and forgive as He does and do as Ephesians 4:32 says, “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.” It’s hard, it hurts, not many…very, very few in fact have I found truly listen, show much mercy and understand. And yet as I cry out to the Lord He even uses that for good and allows me to taste supernaturally of His goodness. As you said, “At first each stone throwing incident was painful to me personally. But now they cause me to grieve for the body of Christ, for all the broken souls in need of love that are receiving condemnation. How is it we forget Christ came not to condemn, but to save sinners?” NOw I just have to be sure that I don’t refuse to reach out and listen and show mercy to those in my life I tend to shrink back from or am quick to judge…Ouch! The Word of God IS powerful and living and sharp!

    The LORD bless you Robin~
    Sheila

    Sheila’s last blog post..Come on Timothy moms, Let’s Partay!

  12. Shonni

    Robin,
    Thank you so much for this post…to be reminded to guard against judging and to know that others understand what it feels like.
    Even now my husband and I are wrestling with our love for our Hebrew Roots and our fears of what others will say…especially from some very close friends that will be visiting next week for three weeks. I thought of the persecuted Christians in other countries who chose to follow Jesus and loose everything…family, friends, their homes…
    Thanks for letting me share this little burden today.
    Shonni

  13. Wow – such a good reminder sister! God’s grace is big enough for all of us and if we are like Him we will also be gracious.

    Love in Him, and His strength to you each Day, MeritK

  14. Tara in VA

    We limped away from our old church with a deep, deep wound. We felt that the Lord wanted us to be open with the leadership so that we were not bearing our burden alone but would make our supposedly praying church family aware of our struggle. We left the meeting with the eldership feeling belittled, betrayed, humiliated and unloved. In the ensueing YEARS we have looked for a church but can not find a fit. I know that God wants us to fellowship with the saints (which we do) and we worship the Lord, but no longer in an organized body. I hear about so much more hurt being dealt out “in Jesus name” and I just can’t stand it. I have come to believe that willingly giving someone else who claims to come cloaked in the authority of God that much power over my life is crazy. I believe that we are all a holy priesthood, that once saved we are all saints. I have the heart of Christ, He came to live in me because I accepted the free gift of His salvation. I want to live out of my new identity. Accountability to a group of elders is not the answer to sin in one’s life. Building a relationship with God, learning of my new identity and then living out my new identity is. Acting in what is right even if my old flesh patterns tell me I still have a sin nature (which I don’t as I am now a new creation). Yes, I believe God works through His people and that He uses all things for the good of those who love Him. For me, my bad experience has told me to place my self directly in God’s hands. I don’t consider myself guarded, but I am no longer willing to turn every aspect of my life over to an organized body of other people.

  15. Mrs. Sampson,
    What words of wisdom you have! This post was truly wonderful!
    I am sorry to read that people would email a fellow Believer and tell them that they are in sin. I don’t think people really get the verse about the speck of dirt. It is sad.
    I just wanted to stop by and say how much I was moved by this article! Great job!
    ((HUGS))
    Love,
    Miss Amanda
    http://superangelsblog.com

    Miss Amanda’s last blog post..Not The Superest News

  16. Robin~
    I am so sorry for the hurt you are experiencing and have experienced from inside the walls of the church. I am sorry to all who have. I am sorry that we have. It is becoming more and more the rare thing that people don’t experience something hurtful in a big way. It is a sad state of unkindness and unloving that we are becoming.
    I pray that the Lord will convict my heart that the law of kindness may be on my lips as well. God help us. Jesus gave His holy self, and we, the Church, are either totally wounded or doing the wounding.
    Is it any wonder people have no faith in the words of Believers?
    Help us Lord to see.
    blessings and a (((GREAT BIG HUG))) to you Robin et al.

  17. What does a letter like that hope to accomplish? Another divorce? Another broken home? shesh.. some people!

    By her reconning, I’m “married” to dozens of men for I was sexually active as a teen and a young woman. Yes, I know it was sin, but I didn’t know the Lord.. and I know I’m covered by His Blood for those sins.

    hugs friend.. how hard it is to live in the spotlight of someone else’s criticisms.

  18. Lisa Petersen

    Robin, thank you for this article. I’m sure this happens to most of us but that doesn’t make it right or any easier when it happens to you. I am a single parent homeschooling mom and have felt pretty much like a square peg in a round hole at times. Plus, since I do not agree with some of the doctrines in the mainstream church (any of them), I can not in good conscience become a member but I do attend regularly and have found that just a small number of supportive people is a huge blessing. Just want you to know what a blessing you have been to me… Lisa

  19. I’m wondering if you ever got my comment. I’m wondering if I put it on the wrong post or maybe there an error submitting it. Please let me know if you did not get it.

    Pure and Sensible’s last blog post..The Gift of Discernment

  20. Today I want to question how the lack of fruit of the Spirit in our lives can result from emotional brokenness due to a lack of love and a lack of being understood.

    This sums up my life. I used to go to church and be full and ready to give. in 2001 my church went through a horrible split which ended up with my pastor in jail later to be relieved of ALL charges because… they just wernt true. I, and many other, were abused for standing by him through all this.

    At the new church we attended I was befriended by two women who supposedly “wanted to be my friend”. They put their children on my cheer team and when things didnt go as planned they took them off and turned on me, getting friendship mixed up with business.

    I dont go to church anymore. I dont feel God at church and havent in years. My family still goes and I am afraid for my children. They are homeschooled and end up going to church and getting picked on and ridiculed by the public school kids.

    I honestly hate church. With a passion.
    I have 8years of wounds and nobody cares
    wants to listen
    or understands.

    So I just keep it all in and fight the bitterness the best I can.

  21. Younger Christians need older Christians to model the love of Christ, and forgiveness is a big part of that. Thanks for sharing your wisdom in this excellent post. Blessings, e-Mom

    e-Mom’s last blog post..Marriage Monday: Is Divorce Ever Right?

  22. GOD BLESS YOU! i found you through chrysalis. just wanted to say that your post deeply resonated with my heart. this is also my pain, my cry, my desire…..when will it finally happen?

    i believe one day. although walking through the here and now of people that don’t understand love is difficult.

    it is something that i battle and contend for everyday of my life and somedays i get so weary of that battle.

    Ruth’s last blog post..Shiloh And Her Shoes

  23. Dear Robin,

    I knew some more criticism would be coming your way when I saw what was being written on a group I’m on. The moderators stepped in quickly and stopped it before it got very far, but some judgmental words had already been spoken. I’m so sorry that people do that to you. Please know that some of us are learning that God’s primary command is love, and we will love and fellowship with you and be glad that you would stoop to fellowship with us regular old moms who don’t know nearly as much as you do.
    You always handle such attacks so graciously. Your wisdom and love are great examples to the rest of us. I hate it when I get criticized the least little bit. Certain people who can’t do anything but criticize me are hard for me to love. But I know that it is my duty to love them. I pray that I will love such a person with a pure heart fervently. It seems to be helping a little. If she could just try to understand me, I know it would help a lot. She is a Christian, but she resents me. I understand where she’s coming from, but it’s still hard to take the put-downs and innuendos. Some people just make me feel like they have it all together, and I’m just pathetic and have a poor, pitiful life. What is it that makes a person act that way? I know it comes from their own insecurity and jealousy, but it is so hard for me to deal with. The only thing I know to do is to pray that God will reveal His deep, deep love for them and they will no longer have these feelings of insecurity and jealousy.
    As far as remarriage being the unpardonable sin and a reason for not fellowshipping with a fellow believer, I really wish those people would read Romans 7 in context and see that it is talking about how we are dead to the law because now we live in the Spirit. We’re released from our old husband, the flesh, because we died to the flesh. We’re allowed to have a new husband, Jesus, because we are no longer bound by the law. We had another husband, but we can marry a new husband, because we’re dead to our first husband, the flesh and the law. That’s the point of Romans 7:1-6. It’s not about a woman being bound to her first husband until he dies. They miss the point completely.
    May God bless you and your family and the unity- the wonderful blessing- of your marriage. It is the gift of God. 🙂

    Love,
    Penney

    Penney Douglas’s last blog post..Shawn goes to New Orleans (without me!)

  24. http://morningcuppas.blogspot.com.au/2009/06/letter-from-divorced-woman.html

    I share your pain. I have included my link on this above… blessings. Glenys

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