To defend is to protect. To shield something or someone. To guard. To watch out for. To secure.
What are you defending? Your children? Your spouse? Friends, family? Your heart? All are worthy recipients of protection, and doing so is valiant, I suppose, but I think it’s time for people to step it up a notch. To broaden your defenses. To expand the perimeter of your protection and include those other than the ones you know, the ones you love, and even yourself.
I want more people to step up their game. To quit worrying about what people think, and jump in head first, hearts blazing, and defend. Defend the people getting mom shamed. Defend the people getting body shamed. Defend the defenseless, the hurting, the weak, the mistreated.
I see cruelty everywhere, the poking fun of a picture on social media, the demoralizing of a stranger on the street, the harm caused to other people by thoughtless actions or words. The judgemental nature our society has adopted has spun out of control. It’s time to take that control back. To speak out, to combat negativity with encouragement, to battle hate with a flaming sword of positivity. To literally kill it with kindness.
My past years of waiting tables has shown me the proof of what keeping a positive attitude can do. Do you know how hard it is for a person to continue to complain or spew negativity when you continue to smile and show kindness? Sooner or later they backtrack. Most people feel ridiculous being hateful to someone with a kind demeanor. And to the ones who continue on with hatred? Their problems are way deeper than the surface. Those are the people who desperately need your prayers, not your retaliation.
I’ve come to learn that the judgemental are insecure. The haters really hate themselves. The negative people who live under a perpetual cloud of pessimism are desperately looking for a ray of sunshine. You just might be the only light to shine on them. So shine brightly.
Suggestion? Jump in and defend. Defend with positivity. The next time you see a negative comment or even twenty (I’ve noticed a sort of follow the leader mentality on social media) on someone’s post, perhaps have the courage to find something positive to say. Jump in there! Quit worrying about how others will react. Nine times out of ten you can totally turn the tide of hate.
Don’t worry about the judgemental. No one has given any of us the right to judge others. Nobody can know what it feels like to walk another’s path or has the right to question how another person copes with life. All we can do is offer encouragement. A safe place. Love. Love is far more powerful than any other form of emotion, it is a powerful weapon against all sorts of issues.
Take it from God. He is love. He created us out of love. He continues to love us, when we don’t deserve it, when we behave in hateful ways and do hurtful things. There is nothing stronger than God, or His power, or His love. His love is power, and He gave us the most powerful weapon of defense and even offense, when He gave us the power to love.
You have the ability to turn the tide of hate. You can open your mouth and defend with love, using your words to create an atmosphere of kindness and caring. Use those thumbs to type out a positive comment. Use a pen and jot down a note of encouragement for somebody you know that needs it. Correct the wrongs. Defend those who need help. It is not okay to stand by and watch, or read, or witness the hurting of others and do nothing, to say nothing. You might as well be joining in.
Step up to the plate. Be a defender. Say something, do something. Fight battles that lead to good, to kindness, to love. Fight your war with a kind word or two, and be a prayer warrior. Pray for the ones who hurt others, because I guarantee they’re hurting too.
One day soon, I will have a new son, or perhaps a daughter. I believe in God’s promise for me. I want this future child, and the children of others to grow up in a world where it’s not okay to judge, or hurt people. I realize that there will always be hate, but I pray that there will always be more love. My child will be loved and taught to be a defender of men. Of women. Of children, of animals. My child will be taught to stand up, to speak up, and to protect those who need protecting, even if it’s themselves that need the protection. This child will be taught that it’s never okay to turn a blind eye to pain, or hurt, or suffering.
Until then, I will continue to put into practice what I believe we all should. That no matter how uncomfortable it may be, I will always defend the rights of others. We deserve to be happy, and to not have that happiness tainted by the careless, judgemental acts of other people.
What would any of us do, if Jesus judged us the way we tend to judge others? If He criticized, or put us down? We would be in a world of pain. We would be absolutely miserable. What if He focused on one flaw instead of looking at the whole picture? We all have flaws, physically, and in our hearts and minds. Not a single one of us is perfect.
Jesus knows firsthand the feeling of torment, of ridicule. He was the object of physical and verbal torture, and He went through it all for us willingly. Why? Not so we could taunt or torture others, but so that we can learn from Him, to love, to right wrongs, so that we may be forgiven, and so that we may pursue lives worth living. His sacrifice for us, while it will never be earned, should make us committed to living in a way that attempts to honor Him. He fought the ultimate battle for us with love, and He won! And what did He do about the haters? The bullies? His tormentors? He prayed for them. He loved. He still loves.
All of us are guilty of being judgmental at some point in our lives, throughout our days. Sometimes it is hard not to be, when we are living in a fallen world surrounded by a society that is focused on how many things we can collect, how much wealth we can accumulate, and how pretty we can make ourselves appear. All of it is fleeting, useless. I would much rather collect true friends, accumulate an abundance of spiritual wealth, and go to my maker with people thinking that I was beautiful. Not because of how perfectly my makeup was applied, but because my heart was beautiful. Honest beauty is truly on the inside, and it radiates from within. I want to be a collector of friends, store up treasures in heaven and possess a beautiful heart. Goals.
I was reminded of my own personal, critical nature just the other day. I came home from work, after a particularly exhausting day, mentally criticizing my boss. She needs to be more organized, I thought. She needs to communicate better, and work on her time management skills, I was thinking. We are always running behind on deadlines and it makes my job much more difficult. She needs to be a better boss, I complained, to myself. I grumbled and grouched, and twisted all the negativity around in my brain, until there was nothing but a knotted mess of disdain that I had no hope of unraveling. And then, because I was so tired, I dozed off on my couch. I slept, and I had a dream. And God unraveled the mess.
In my dream, my boss was standing outside. She was calling for help. I ran to her and noticed both her hands were tied together, with a rope that was attached to a tree. She was asking for me to get her some help, and she was crying.
I woke up. My whole attitude had changed. I realized how negative I had been. I realized how stressed and small she had looked at work, that very day. I realized that this woman didn’t need my criticism, even if it was just to myself, what she needed was my help. My prayers. I realized that I had no idea what she was going through, personally, or professionally. This dream was an eye opener, and I thank God every time he shows me the error of my ways. I thank Him that He loves me enough to correct me, and finds me worthy of being taught.
My point is, a world full of defenders, of prayer warriors, of kind hearted people, is going to be much more efficient than a world that judges, criticizes and hates. So much could be accomplished, just by having the courage to stand up for others, to pray for others, to feel compassion for others. To let our hearts be softened, to let go of the hardness that this world creates, in all of us.
I pray that you are brave enough to be a warrior. A lover. A defender.
Much love, and God bless,
Feel free to follow me on Instagram @humblegirl1111 or on Facebook at Nay Towell. I enjoy sharing and receiving positivity and hope.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,
Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.
This is my command: Love each other.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7