The Problem With Judging Others

Sometimes nothing feels as good as judging others. That’s so true isn’t it? When we judge others it makes us feel taller, better, smarter…more spiritual. Judging others says “I don’t do what you do – therefore I am better than you.”

In Matthew 7 Jesus tells us:

“Judge not lest you be judged.”

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He tells us to not judge others otherwise it will come back on us. So true. I can honestly say that virtually everything I have judged others about I ended up doing the very same thing myself. Here is how it works. When we judge others we put ourselves in a superior position to that person. It is another way of saying “I would never stoop so low as to do what you are doing.”

For a long time I was super-religious. In my piety I began to judge what others did, how they dressed, what they ate and drank, how they looked and any other thing that I thought I was doing really well at. Then it began to happen – one by one – everything that I had judged others about – I, or one of my family members began to do the exact same thing. It took a while, a few years to be exact, but it finally hit me. God allows us to go through the same experience the person we judged has gone through so that we will gain empathy as to what the person has gone through.

Several years ago my daughter was anorexic. She struggled for several years and finally was admitted to Remuda Ranch in Wickenburg, Arizona. A close friend called when Alex was back home. She was very critical of our family and said “We all know that girls become anorexic because they don’t receive the love they need from their fathers.” Instantly I knew that the judgement she had just spoken over us would one day come back of her. I began to pray that the Lord would give them grace when they went through this difficult time. Within 3 years their only daughter became anorexic. It terrified me to think how our words can bring the judgement of God upon our lives.

When Michael and I were first married we chose to not drink. We used to be heavy drinkers when we were young so we felt that there was no place for drinking in a believer’s life. We often looked down at those in our church who drank – as we were much holier. We’d been married several years and were given a bottle of champagne from Michael’s work. Our marriage was on the  downslope. Out of the blue Michael suggested we each have a glass of champagne. We did. We were amazed how one glass relaxed us and helped us enjoy the evening.  In time we began having an occasional glass of wine or beer with our dinner. We were now doing exactly what we had judged others for.

A close Christian friend had her 2 girls in the same private school that our girls attended.  Our families were very conservative. One issue that we wouldn’t budge on was our girls wearing bikinis. We felt very strongly that it was not acceptable nor was it appropriate for Christian girls to be wearing them. We snubbed our noses at those who allowed their daughters to wear “such revealing” attire.  Sure enough – not by our choice – within the next few years our daughters made the decision to begin wearing bikinis. There was nothing we could do to stop it.

A Christian friend had her first child when she was 17. Her boyfriend had gotten her pregnant. Her dad was a youth pastor. Years later when she was married I asked her about what had caused her to do something that her family strongly taught against. She said one thing “My dad always judged those girls who had sex outside of marriage.”

 

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We used to live in Louisville, Kentucky. We would often go for walks in Cherokee Park. It was a very popular gay hangout thus it wasn’t unusual to see strange people.  One afternoon Michael and I were walking and Michael motioned over to a man sitting crossed-legged on a hill. With his hands raised up in the air he made strange circular motions, first one way, then another. He continued to stare straight up into the sky as he did this. It was bizarre. “What a crazy person!” I whispered to Michael. We continued to walk closer to the man. Then we saw it – he was holding string in his hands, reeling it in and then out. He was flying a kite, we just weren’t able to see the string.

We judge because we do not understand. We judge because we think we are better than “that.” We judge because of prejudices and misconceptions. We judge because we truly don’t believe it will come back on us.

After so many horrible years of God allowing me to be judged in the same way that I had judged others, the fear of God fell upon me. I finally saw the light. It was then that I realized:

If I judge you for doing drugs, I will end up doing them. If I judge you for wearing a mini-skirt, next week I will be wearing one. If I judge your family because your daughter became pregnant out-of-wedlock it won’t be long before my daughter will get pregnant by some guy. If I judge you for choosing to live in a mansion – somehow I’ll end up in a mansion also.

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If I judge you for smoking you can bet that it won’t be long before I’ll be doing the same. If I judge you for being a clown – you know what I’d end up doing. Big, red shoes anyone? Whatever I judge another person for – there is no doubt I will end up doing the exact same thing.

Judging someone isn’t the same as discernment. When you have discernment you can acknowledge that something is bad but you don’t take it to the next level and criticize the person for doing it. Selling drugs is wrong. It is sinful and leads many into a life of misery and anguish. But I will not judge you for selling them. Instead I will pray for you and love you. If I am asked about it I will address the issue truthfully – but not judgementally. Otherwise you know what I’ll end up doing – whether I like it or not.

Ever wonder why Pastors often end up doing the very thing they are always preaching against? It is because they have a judgemental spirit. You see you can teach against sin, you can preach against sin, but you should never put yourself in a position of pointing the finger and judging another’s sin. Pastors are not exempt. If they judge they will fall just as hard and just as fast as anyone else. Because they represent God’s office of leadership God has to deal with them in an even stricter way. When it happens it ain’t pretty.

Who have you judged lately? Quickly repent. Pray for the person. Love the person. If God opens the door speak to them in grace and love. But no matter what you do don’t ever judge another person.

Clean your slate before God has to deal with you.

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