Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Judge Not Lest You Be Judged

As a Christian, I hear a lot about being judgmental. And frankly, it's been wearing on me. So I decided to write about being judgmental to bring some clarity and peace to my mind.

But before I dive into the post, I want to first clarify what being judgmental really means. Scripture defines judgmental-ness as being hypocritical, or two-faced. It's the pot calling the kettle black. I've also heard it said that we judge others by their actions but we judge ourselves by our intentions. In other words, we set higher expectations for others than we do for ourselves and we unfairly hold them to our too-high expectations.

Being judgmental means you are prideful, arrogant, and conceited. Scripture says, "Judge not lest you be judged: (Matt. 7:1). We all struggle with being judgmental, albeit to various degrees, so I want to share three steps that will hopefully help you out.

1. In order to overcome judgmental-ness, we need to acquire a realistic view of the human condition. We are sinners. Romans 3:10-12 says, "There is no one righteous; no even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one." Some people believe they are good people. They believe that mankind is naturally good. The Bible says otherwise. Isaiah 59:2-3 says, "But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. For your hands are stained with blood, your fingers with guilt. Your lips have spoken lies, and your tongue mutters wicked things." Jeremiah 17:9 says, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?" Don't expect people to be perfect; they can't be. And you aren't perfect either.

2. In order to overcome judgmental-ness, you'll also need to humble yourself and understand your own imperfection. You are not perfect. You are a sinner. We've just read Scripture that explained this. And you won't be overcoming your judgmental attitude without adopting humility as your new mindset. It won't be easy, but with the Spirit of Christ living in you, anything is possible (Phil. 4:13). "Greater is He who is in you than he who is in this world (1 John 4:4), so you already have the tools necessary to adopt humility. I need to be fair, though. It's said that once you think you're humble, you're not. Does that make sense? As soon as you think you have it, you just lost it. It's a lifelong process. But you'll need to chase after humility in order to recognize your own sinfulness. And once you recognize your own sin, you'll be motivated to stop judging others.

Oh, and not only will you need humility in your fight to overcome being judgmental...

3. You will also need to clothe yourself in love and grace. The best way to stop judging others is to start loving them. What is the opposite of judgment? Love and grace. And that's what the Bible was telling us in Romans 12:20, which says, "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink." In Matthew 5:43-48, Jesus said, "'You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven... If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." The whole point is to love instead of hate. "The Golden Rule is: "Love your neighbor as yourself" (Matt. 22:39). If you want to stop hating, start loving.

Ever heard of the Trash In: Trash Out concept? I explain in detail in my post Captivating Yet Corruptive Trash, but in short, it's a belief that what you put in your heart and mind comes back out. For example, if you let trash in by constantly watching movies with filthy language and your friends constantly cuss, you probably use bad language yourself. And if you watch porn and watch movies that are R-rated for sexual content and hang out with immodest and promiscuous girls, you probably have had sexual experiences, or you really want to but you're waiting on the "right opportunity." Trash goes in, trash comes right back out. Well it's the same with the same with good stuff. If you let Christ in, Christ comes out. If you let love in, love comes out. And the funny thing is you can't ever be "empty." If you want your trash removed, you can't just empty the trash, you have to replace it with love. You can't sit at "empty", between the two. If you try, I guarantee that you'll just teeter back to sin. You have to live in love, or you'll live in sin.

In conclusion, in order to overcome judgmental-ness, you'll have to acquire a realistic view of the human condition, understand your own imperfection, and replace judgment with love. I want to leave you with encouragement, so I challenge you to love. The apostle Paul wrote, "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing." It doesn't matter what you do: without love, you'll be and gain nothing.

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

I thought that this was very good. I've actually been thinking a lot about judgement lately - its really important for our witnessing that we, as Christians, do not have a judgemental mind-set. Love, however, is definitely the most important thing to have. And that verse from Corinthians 13 is one of my all-time favourites. It really sums up the importance of love!