I know the Jesus told us many times throughout the Bible how we should not judge others. Let’s face it though, how many of you can honestly say you have never judged anyone? If anyone here tells me, they’ve never judged, I’m inclined to believe you’re not being honest with me or, more importantly, you’re not being honest with yourself.
I know myself, being a believer; follower of Christ; man of God or whatever other description you may want to give me, have often judged others out of simple human nature. They may not have been doing as I would, as I think they should or even what society tells us they should be doing. Therefore, I judge.
We all know this is wrong. We all know this is not the way Jesus taught us to be. As Brother Spydr has spoken of several times in the past…
Luke 6:37 – “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven.”
Matthew 7:1 – “Judge not, that you not be judged.”
With these simple little lessons from Jesus, are we really doing as He has asked?
How many times have you been somewhere, out and about with your friends, your spouse or even on the job with your co-workers where you have seen someone dressed, as you might think, inappropriately?
You’re then quick to say to those you are with, “Look at them! How shabby and dishelmed they look. Who could have possibly dressed them and what were they thinking?!”
What about their actions? Are they behaving in a way that you disapprove of? Are they bothering you or causing you undue stress because their actions are unsettling to you? How dare they?! How dare they take away from your peace and solitude, ruining what might have otherwise been a much better day.
John 7:24 – “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with the right judgement.”
Okay, now that seems confusing doesn’t it? Just a moment ago in Luke and Matthew, we were taught not to judge, but here, in John, Jesus is telling us to “Judge with the right judgement.”
I believe what Jesus was really telling us was that we should never be superficial in our assessment of other people. It is, however, critical that we separate what is good from what is evil.
We need to remember what the Apostle Paul told the Ephesians…
Ephesians 5:8-9 – “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth.”
We were “once darkness.” Clearly put by Paul as he reminded us we are the light in the Lord. If we do choose to pass judgement on others, let it be with Godliness, fairness and compassion. I think it’s more important for us to avoid condemnation of others as God is the only lawgiver and judge.
James 4:12 – “There is only one lawgiver and judge, he is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?”
How often are we quick to judge others yet ever so slow to look more closely at ourselves? We are all sinners. We know and understand this as we also know how Jesus cleansed us of our sins and has forgiven us… and does so, every day!
Matthew 7:3-4 – “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but you do not notice the plank that is in your own eye?”
Matthew 7:5 – “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”
I don’t know about you, but I would rather examine me first, heal myself of my own faults, and stay away from my self-righteous condemnation of others so I might better follow my Savior’s instruction to me.
What We Don’t Know
This world can be a harsh place. There is no denying that at all. When we pass judgement on others, how much do we really know about their past? Do we know what they’ve been through or how harsh life has been on them? I suggest not.
I’d like to tell you all about a little incident that happen to me a short while ago. Pamela and I, when we were out at night with our friends, would often turn into the “Designated Driving Team” as we would be called upon to take someone home after they’d had a bit too much to drink.
One night, as we were out having a few cocktails, we witnessed a gentleman acting loud and unruly at the bar. He was clearly annoying the other patrons as we would watch them turn their backs and do their best to ignore his rantings.
Knowing he needed to go home, Pam looked at me, lowered her head in that lecturing kind of way, and said, “Woody?” I knew what she was telling me to do.
For this story, let’s just call this gentlemen Bob. I walked over the Bob, grabbed his shirt-sleeve and said, “C’mon Bob. Let me take you home.” He made a little grunting sound but agreed anyway and we walked out of the bar and got into my truck.
He lived a little way down the road, so I tried my best to strike-up a conversation with Bob just to pass the time. The conversation what something like this:
Me: “So, Bob… did you eat anything tonight? You got yourself a little tipsy in there.”
Bob: “Naa… and she’s gonna be all pissed-off about that. She always wanted me to eat and was always putting stuff in front of me, forcing it down my stomach.”
Me: “Oh, your wife? I guess she just wants to take care of you buddy. I wouldn’t be angry about that one. It’s a little late. Is she going to be waiting-up for you?”
Bob: “Nope. She always went to bed early… says she needed her beauty sleep.”
Me: “Well, you can’t blame her for that Bob. A woman likes to stay pretty for her man. You guys been together a long time?”
Bob: “For Twenty-eight wretched years I listened to her nagging and harping. I guess you’d say that’s pretty long.”
I began analyzing Bob’s answers:
- “She always wanted me to eat” – She doesn’t anymore?
- “She always went to bed early” – She doesn’t anymore?
- “For twenty-eight years you listened” – You don’t anymore?
Our conversation continued…
Me: “Bob, is your wife at home waiting for you? Is she going to be mad you’re coming home so late? Is there something you’re not telling me?”
Bob’s head was now turned away from me. He seemed to be staring out the window and didn’t say a word for what seemed like ten minutes.
Me: “Bob, you okay?”
Bob looked down, his hands folded limply in his lap. After a few more moments, he looked over at me… tears flowing from his eyes.
Bob: “I miss her so damn much Woody! Why the hell did she have to go away? I don’t know how to do all the things she did, and she’d be so damn mad I’m not even trying!”
There it was! Bob was clearly in pain. His actions at the bar weren’t because he hated everyone else, he was in pain and didn’t know how to deal with it. His wife had always been his caretaker and now, she was gone. The story ended in this way…
Me: “I’m so sorry Bob. We’re here at the gate, do you know the code to get through them?”
Bob (wiping away his tears): “Naa… I used to live here with her but now I sleep out back, in the woods.”
Now I was totally torn apart. Here I was… one of the ones in the bar condemning him and passing judgement on him for his behavior. Now, I had clearly been humbled as I did not obey the instruction of my Lord.
I gave Bob a jacket from the back of my truck; handed him what little cash I had in my wallet, so he could have breakfast in the morning and said my good-byes.
Me: “Again Bob, I’m so sorry. I wish there was something more I could do for you.”
Bob: “You just did Woody. You showed me kindness, instead of resentment. God Bless you.”
I then went on my way… watching Bob creep through the hedges of the complex and disappearing into the darkness behind the houses.
Things are not always as they seem. Who remembers the story of “The Traveling Angels” and how one simply could not see nor understand the action of the other?
The next time you feel the need to judge, look deeper. What would Jesus do (WWJD)? Would He have condemned Bob, or would He have reacted with kindness and compassion, forgiving Bob for his actions? I think you and I both know the latter would have been our Lord’s reaction.
When we are faced with adversity and feel we have had an injustice done against us; another person (Brother or Sister in Christ) has “done us wrong,” the word of God teaches us to “bear with each other.”
Colossians 3:13 – “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
When we feel we’ve been hurt, it’s human nature that guides our reactions. We need to focus on the lessons Christ has given us and not what the world has taught us to be.
Ephesians 4:31-32 – “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
So, the next time you’ve “been wronged,” forget your anger. Forgive the one who has hurt you for you may not understand their actions. Instead, as the Bible tells us, put them in your prayers.
Mark 11:25 – “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in Heaven may forgive you your sins.”
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Let us all learn to not judge others or condemn them for what they may have done. Let us understand, that if we do judge, we do so with Godly compassion and understanding… accepting others for what they may have been through or the tortures they may still be living with.
Love one another. Forgive one another as Jesus told Peter… “Not seven times, but seventy times seven!”
Think about these things as well when you feel the need to complain about how terrible your own life may be…
- When you find it hard to sleep at night – There is a family somewhere with no bed to lie in.
- When you have a bad day at work – Think of the man who has been out of work for months, living on the street.
- When you grieve over a passing weekend – Remember the woman working 12 hours a day, seven days a week to feed her children.
- When you’re upset over your graying hair – Think of the cancer patient in chemo wishing they had hair to examine.
- When you hurt over a relationship gone bad – Think of the person who has never known what it’s like to love or, much more, be loved in return.
- When you find yourself victim of another’s bitterness, ignorance and insecurities – Remember, things could be worse… you could be them!
Go with God; be good to one another; always stay humble; always be kind… God Bless You All (Amen)