Too often I see people being judged. By their actions. By what they believe. By how they act or how they speak... Yes, we can have discernment about a given situation. But never do we have the right to treat anyone with disrespect or judgment. Even if we consider someone our "enemy", we are to treat them as enemies are to be treated, as Biblically commanded... "Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you... Heap coals upon their heads."
The main area that I am most bothered by, is the judgment "broken people" often times receive. You never know where someone might be hurting in life. You might not EVER know why people treat others or themselves in a certain way. Their lifestyle may be very different than your own, or how they think may be way out of whack in your opinion. But unless they are doing something strictly against the Law or Word of God, we cannot say that they are doing things wrong or sinful. Because to put it quite frankly, you probably have NO IDEA where they're at in life.
First of all, no one appreciates you believing that the chapter they are going through describes and is an overall review of how their entire life has been or will be. It is NOT. God places situations of all kinds in your life in order to grow you, and to teach you many different things. We, especially as Christians, are called to stand up beside those who are hurting or struggling... And in turn, you will be blessed and encouraged when you are the one dealing with a painful complication in your long story. It is all about the attitude we give into during our present place of the journey.
Every chapter of every story is completely different in it's own very unique way, because each of us are very unique from one another. DON'T judge someone because they are handling something differently from the way you would. For an example... don't assume that someone hates you simply because they can't look you in the eyes. Look to the possibility, instead, that they could be ashamed and afraid of what you might think of them. Maybe, in fact, they hate themselves.
Do Not Judge, Lest You Be Judged
~Be a Trustworthy Friend~
A part of not being judgmental, is being trustworthy. Be that friend and brother or sister in Christ who people trust and respect and desire encouragement from. Let them know that it doesn't matter how they deal with the mountains bulging in their paths, as long as they are taking them in the direction God would have them take. You need to be the person who strengthens them with your words and helps out in any area, whether it's pushing them forward in the way they are going, or catching them in a clear mistake and then humbly but in a Christ-like attitude encourage them to turn around.
~Understand the Best of Them~
It doesn't matter if you know their whole story or not. In fact, as a true friend... you don't have to know ANYTHING, because it really is none of your business. But, when you are trustworthy and seeking after the best for a person you know, they may open up and share things with you, where in turn you can be of a godly help and influence. When this happens, do your best to understand them and see where they honestly and genuinely are placing their minds. Help smooth out the rough bumps of their unnecessary troubles, and then where they are most clearly needing help, seek to truly understand them. Ask questions that you are okay with not receiving answers to. Listen even when it's hard. Be strong for them though you will cry a LOT. "Understand", even if in personal life experience you could never possibly and completely understand exactly what they are handling or hiding away in their souls. And then, honor this trust you have been blessed with having.
~Treat a Blackened Soul as if it's the Gold that it is~
I believe most people who truly struggle with pain, depression, sadness or any kind of dark strife in their lives truly hate themselves. I think it's very important as an encouraging friend to help remind them of how much they are worth, and of how much Christ paid for their souls and their hearts. Give them the love and respect they need in order to realize that their brokenness could never be too broken to still be gold. One is not blackened by life storms. Life is refined. You can be made into a diamond by all of the pressure you may be within! But one must remember... To love even yourself... as Christ has loved you. Don't underestimate the price that was paid for you!! And don't let yourself blacken the soul that can be golden.
~Don't Treat a Storm as Simply a Rainfall~
If someone is telling or showing you that they are hurting... DON'T tell them that they are not. Don't act like it's not a big deal, or treat them like nothing is wrong. If someone reaches out to you, or you take the initiative to reach out to them, USE it. Honor their feelings and respect the truths that they share with you. Some people can exaggerate or have an issue with drama, I know that ;) But even sometimes the loudest people are hurting just the same as the quietest souls. They simply handle their fears differently. And you can help BOTH types of people through prayer, and in perhaps different ways by using your own "loud" or "quiet" understandings.
~Speak as if you are Listening~
Whether it is a shy and insecure person, or a boisterous and insecure person, there are ALWAYS insecurities within someone! Know your person... listen and be considerate to those insecure feelings. While giving advice or encouragement of scriptural and personal experience, speak in such a way that shows a soul that you are listening to them and their situations. When you are truly seeking to help someone, you must do it in a way that maybe isn't how you would normally do it, or how you would personally need it done to you. But it will show true love and understanding if you speak as if you are truly there for THEM, not for yourself. Be the voice that they already have deep down somewhere... Draw that voice out and help them heal and find themselves with the help of God and his Grace and forgiveness. They don't need to find you, you're already right there in front of them. What they need is to find the part of them that can get through whatever they are going through, and with their hearts and minds set on the peace and love of Jesus Christ, our Lord God.
~Give the Gift of Your Time~
It's precious to you, I know... but your time could be exactly what someone NEEDS.