dont judge

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“Don’t judge me” is probably one of the most common phrases thrown out there by humanity. People do not like to be judged by others because they feel like others lack real insight into their own personal situation; and for the most part, this is absolutely true. Even the bible admonishes us about judging in scriptures such as Mathew 7:1 “Judge not, that ye may not be judged” and Romans 14:13 “Let us not therefore judge one another any more.”

But the reality is, we all judge. Insomuch as you declare, “do not judge me” you are judging; you have judged those you believe are judging you.

Judge: To form an opinion about something after careful thought; to regard as either good or bad

There really is no escaping judgement- neither giving or receiving it. So what are these scripture in the Bible about? Let us look at the amplified version of Matthew 7:1-2:

Do not judge and criticize and condemn others, so that you may not be judged and criticized and condemned yourselves. For just as you judge and criticize and condemn others, you will be judged and criticized and condemned, and in accordance with the measure you [use to] deal out to others, it will be dealt out again to you.

A problem arises when we sit on a pedestal, believing ourselves to be more special or deserving than the hypocrite, the murderer, the thief, the adulterous, the one who disobeys… We cease to see our own spiritual infidelities. Our hearts become unrepentant. We forget that we are all made of the same dirt and will all return to that dirt. Thinking we have judged rightly, we will find in the end that we have misjudged our own position before God. This also carries over to putting some people in higher esteem than others.Love3

You see, the one condemned in your eyes, is the one Jesus Christ died for. The one whom you think yourself superior too, this is the one that “God so loved, that he gave his only begotten Son” for. That one that you have disregarded? That is the one that Christ is seeking to save.

Most people believe they are not judging. But let us consider some trigger words. What sort of thoughts come to mind when you read these words. Ponder them each individually and slowly:

Homosexuality. Muslim. Abortion. Christian. Jesus. Buddha. Science. Family. Gandhi. Mother Theresa. Baptism. Salvation. Heaven. Hell.

This list could be infinite. Each word will conjure up something within your heart, and for each word, you have a personal judgement made about it. The problem does not lie in what your personal perception and understanding of these words is. The problem lies when you attach these labels to people and consequently praise or condemn, befriend or avoid them.

dont judge meOne of the most damaging thoughts out there in our time is the thought of “toxic people.” Many quotes are being circulated in our world about staying away from these toxic-humanoids. Yes, you may as well call it something different than human. This thought process is loaded with judgement and condemnation, because as soon as you have labeled somebody “toxic” you have judged them.

Does that mean that staying away from someone that may harm you or pressure you to go against your own conscience is wrong? No! That is healthy. But, remember, those that deserve our attention the least, may need it the most. If we must, for our own safety, put distance between us and another person, do so with love, praying that this person may get the healing and help they so desperately need. But pushing people out of our lives just because they are different, difficult or not what we expected, is harmful.

Life is not easy- no matter who is in it. This life is meant to teach us lessons and lessons are not learned through ease. We all have a powerful inner-critic at work all the time. Let us not be found guilty of strengthening the inner critic of others.

“Don’t judge me until you have walked a mile in my shoes.” 

Too many wear this like a badge of honor, yet do not honor this in others. We cannot sit a critic and condemner and love at the same time.

Most of religion is set up with walls- enclosing people, codes, regulations, laws, hierarchy and tradition inside walls and judging and excluding those who stay without them. There was a letter written to the Galatians dealing with this very thing in chapter 2 we read:

Even that question came up only because of some so-called believers there—false ones, really[b]—who were secretly brought in. They sneaked in to spy on us and take away the freedom we have in Christ Jesus. They wanted to enslave us and force us to follow their Jewish regulations. But we refused to give in to them for a single moment. . . 14 When I saw that they were not following the truth of the gospel message, I said to Peter in front of all the others, “Since you, a Jew by birth, have discarded the Jewish laws and are living like a Gentile, why are you now trying to make these Gentiles follow the Jewish traditions? . . . And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law. . . I am a sinner if I rebuild the old system of law I already tore down. 19 For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me. So I died to the law—I stopped trying to meet all its requirements—so that I might live for God. 20 My old self has been crucified with Christ.[e] It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.

Many times those who sit in judgement get angry when you highlight these scriptures, because they have turned the Bible into their God and have dissected its words and created another system of laws which was never the purpose of Christ. His purpose was to come and light the way of every man. His purpose was to turn us away from the incessant struggle of habitual fleshly sins, and to allow his light to come into our hearts and lead and guide us.

“Don’t judge me!”

This is impossible. No matter how you live your life, someone here will judge you and condemn you. But as we allow the light of Christ to illuminate our hearts and draw closer and closer to this unconditional love, we will no longer feel the need to defend ourselves, nor to judge others. God’s grace and love will suffice us!

Good morning

Waking to Sunlight stretched across my bed
God’s creation merrily dances
To the songs that the winged creatures bring
In the dawn of hope and more chances

All of my senses are born on a prayer
The tiniest speck twinkles with delight
Time to arise and face a new day
God lifts me into the sunlight

“You are doing well, you’ve grown more than expected”
Spirit whispers strength into my soul
The voice within speaks the wisdom of sages
And mirrors the way to live life to the full

“Children run before thinking and stumble along
Careless of life till they fall
Masters think before acting, and all that they do
Is authentic and considerate of all”

Awake to the calls in the greeting of day
The sunlight of Spirit shows no form
Yet a peaceful calm sweeps over my being
Sustained in the eye of the storm

No word of man, no scornful eye
No judgement or wrathful requite
Nothing can separate me from God
Or His gift of the morning sunlight

Written by blog author

Elizabeth Van Cleve

shane on piano2B

About 17 years ago I asked my two young children if they would like to learn how to play the piano. They enthusiastically agreed. There was just one problem- we did not own a piano. As a stay-at-home mom, our household income had an extremely tight budget. But I was undaunted, for I was acquainted with the God of the universe and I had found this God to be loving and generous to those whose eyes are upon Him. So I simply said to my children, “lets pray and ask God for a piano.” The three of us knelt down and made our petition known. Almost a year passed before a piano became available for $115. It was an old, black, student piano- but it worked and was in tune and that was all we really needed.

Shane and his sister getting ready for a piano recital. Teacher is on the left.

Shane and his sister getting ready for a piano recital. Teacher is on the left.

Now, lessons can be quite expensive. I started my daughter out first, because she was already at the recommended age of eight and I told my son he could start lessons as soon as he was eight too. Being a mere 18 months behind his sister was not too long of a wait. Lessons started in summers only, every other week. This was affordable for our income. I was able to procure a young teacher for a fraction of the standard cost. My kids were eager to learn and were soon performing songs both independently and together to the delight of all our friends and family. The lessons increased when the Charter school they were enrolled with was willing to provide for the classes. They were then able to take them all year long on a weekly basis.

As a toddler, Shane would tap his foot to musical performances, and loved to listen to a variety of music and his love for learning more was insatiable.

Shane at around 8-years, filling glasses with water to create a perfect pitched musical scale

Shane at around 8-years, filling glasses with water to create a perfect pitched musical scale

When Shane was in his teens, the church we attended lost their student organist and petitioned us to see if Shane would be willing to learn. Every week I would drive him the 15 miles both to and from the church where he learned from a renowned teacher both how to play the organ and advance in his piano skills. He also attended a local Jr. college and passed all their Music Theory classes with A’s.

Soon, his talent was in high demand. I quietly sat on the side-lines and watched my son give so unselfishly of his time and his talent to practicing and performing musical pieces for church, for vocalists, for instrument accompaniments, for plays, and even for elderly assistant facilities.

Shane on pianoB

Shane playing for Christmas Singers at Elderly Care Centers

There have been very few instances where he has actually earned a little cash in performing for a wedding or other event. But for the most part, Shane has unceremoniously offered his talent as a gift of love.  In between his work as a volunteer fire-fighter, his full-time position as an EMT, and his side jobs of yard maintenance for the elderly, Shane utilizes his spare time patiently working on music projects as an offering at the church he attends.

In the past few years, many people have asked him for a CD of hymns. Shane invested his own money, time and talent into producing a collection of his most requested hymns. He came to me and asked if I would read his web introduction for his CD’s debut and suggest any changes that should be made. My heart swelled with love and pride as I read the words he wrote, for his utmost concern was to make sure his audience understood that the $12 cost of the CD  was not to make a profit, but rather to cover the cost of bringing this work to fruition.

shane on piano 1B

I urged him not to worry about justifying the cost. Money is just an exchange- a tool. When we work at something and we put our best effort into it, we should expect a return. That is how life is sustained. The price of the CD is so very minimal- but the love and sacrifice he puts into his music and sharing it with others has been phenomenal.

I couldn’t have ever asked for a more humble, wonderful. awesome son; I feel especially blessed to be the recipient of live concerts while he continues to play and perfect his talent on that old, black, student piano we prayed for so many years ago, and to offer his talent back to the the great Giver of all life!

To listen to samples and/or order one of Shane’s CD’s please click on the following link:

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IMG_2596BAPhoto by Elizabeth Van Cleve, taken at Drakes Bay

New Years Reflection

the mind

The Yearning

The Yearning

The stare that pierced my soul
with brows arched stern
I shrank beneath her eyes
disapproval’s cut and burn

I longed for her smile
One sparkle from those grey-blue peeps
That said, “I love you, I am so proud,
that you are mine for keeps.”

Days ran into years;
Rain turned into tears;
Forgotten yearnings buried deep,
Now spring forth as I watch you sleep

Soft white box cradled your form;
Is that a breath that I see now?
A serene face was not to be;
Scornful death lay on your brow

I longed for her smile;
I searched her face still and pale;
But sternness chiseled out its frown;
Was it concealed behind the veil?

Minutes seem to be a thief;
Eternity holds every grief;
And though I sought but one small trace,
they bore you out with scornful face.
Written by: Elizabeth A. Van Cleve

but for a moment

But For a Moment
(Rip Uncle Steve)

But for a moment
Eyes flutter, the light beams enter
Wind rushes in
Whips us up into its fury

But for a moment
Peals of laughter echo in the corridors
Rainbows burst out
Full of magical illusion

But for a moment
Screams shatter into a vortex of pain
Thunder roars in bad temper
Afflicting for its demented pleasure

But for a moment
Starless nights swallow up beauty
Shadows play carelessly
with terror and loneliness

But for a moment
Throbbing, insatiable yearning
Dawn uncovers her fragrant garden
Soul touches soul, swirling into one

But for a moment
Time ticks by seconds
Daylight hides secret sins
Memory serves our delusions

But for a moment
Eyes flutter, and light beams dim
Soft breezes quietly pass
vanishing into a timeless sea

But for a moment
Despair bows her head
The sun drops from the skies
And teardrops fall into the river of moments

Written by Elizabeth Van Cleve


Written for my husband…

The Name I Love


The name I call out to when I have a need, or when I am scared

The face I search for in a crowd

The voice I listen for and know among many

The one I trust above all else

The arms I snuggle in when I am cold

The shoulder I lean on when I cry

The eyes I draw encouragement from

The strength that gives me a sense of security


The name I fell in love with

The face I could never forget

The voice that tells me, “I love you.”

The body I passionately merge with

The hand I hold onto

The one who holds me tight in his arms

The eyes that see into my soul

The name most oft upon my lips

My lover! My best friend! My soul mate!


I turned my head and heart,
and looked the other way;
For long the road did span,
that traveled into day;
The night had wearied my soul;
In pieces my heart did lay.

One by one my fingers weakened,
till my hand let go it’s grip;
My eyes roved over the faces,
that watched while my footsteps slipped;
And the voices that had cried, “Ever faithful!”
Carried tales on the winds of gossip.

Dishonest the ones who shout loudest,
to shut out the voice of despair;
And cover the truth with avoidance,
deceiving themselves that they care.
Naked they feign to be robed,
in holy apparel so fair.

Like sand through the hourglass passing,
days vanish into the night;
So few the souls who have lived,
with love as their true guiding light;
Proudly they lift up their weapons,
lost in a terrible fight.

For power is the cry of their battle;
Their cages are baited with fears;
History tells of the bloodshed;
Many lamps have been smothered with tears;
Freedom is only a byword,
passed along the chains of their peers.

I turned from the road that signed,”upward,”
and traveled back into the mist;
I left the burden of “righteous,”
And all of the rules they insist;
Now I fly on the wings of an Eagle,
with a radiant face that is kissed!

Written by Elizabeth A. Van Cleve

no earthly good

Come hear me good brothers come here one and all
Don’t brag about standing or you’ll surely fall
You’re shinin’ your light yes and shine if you should
You’re so heavenly minded and you’re no earthly good

Come here me good sisters you’re salt of the earth
If your salt isn’t salted then what is it worth
You could give someone a cool drink if you would
You’re so heavenly minded and you’re no earthly good
~Johnny Cash

I mean, really, how do you win a fight with someone who picks it just because you have a certain color of skin? or because you are a certain gender? or because you believe something different than they do? And so because of one, or all of the above, they just decide you are toxic- not worthy of their time or attention. Because you do not see the world the way they see it, or do things the way they do it, you may as well be invisible- dismissed from their presence as someone not just of no value, but worse; you are someone who needs to be disposed of. They will not be found in your presence- not because you have ever done them wrong, or done anyone wrong. In fact, in many ways, you have done your best to love them and to reach out to them in times of need. But, because you are different- or because you no longer have the same beliefs as them, you are now someone to stay away from. Hmmm…

This happened to me today. Someone I love decided I was no longer worthy to be in their presence. Though I tried to put the hurt and pain aside and bring happiness to those who remain in my life, but the stress of it brought on a headache. Resting on the sofa after making a fun Mexican dinner for the family, my husband bid me to hasten back into the kitchen. My youngest daughter was having seizure.

We laid her on the floor, and called out to the God who has never left us nor forsaken us; He heard my cry… my paradigm shift has never affected his love for me- in fact, he is the one who has given me the shift, that I might grow in my spirit and be more compassionate and open to the world about me.

Seems odd to me that we come from the same God, pray to the same God, love the same God, but cannot be together, because we do not see things from the same view point.

I think about love. So many religious people say that love is paramount. How did Christ love? He loved those who did not see the way he saw. He loved those who were sinners. He loved those who followed him and those who did not. He loved all. He went to the cross to prove the lengths he would go to for love- “Greater love has not man than he who lays down his life for his friends.” Christ loved even the one who betrayed him, calling him friend. Christ did not avoid people to save his own soul. He loved people and laid down his own life.

Some people are afraid; they are afraid to love too much. Is there really such a thing in a world of so much hate and turmoil?

I think we would get a lot further in this world, if people would quit trying to prove they are the right; if people would just be honest enough to admit, we are all in the same boat together, and none of us, NO ONE knows everything and the everything some of us think we know, may very well not be true at all. If we could just decide, I am going to LOVE – everyone, all the time! No matter what!

That is what Christ did.

People followed him, not so much because of what he said, but because of how he made them feel– loved, accepted, wanted. He taught them, and they took his lessons because they FIRST felt his LOVE!

Christ taught that in the end he would recognize his, not by what they believed, or achieved; Not by how many people they influenced or pointed to him; But by how they treated others- by how they LOVED! 

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