In today’s society, it seems that we are all too quick to judge one another. Judgement starts among our own family and friends and, sadly, works its way through our daily lives, workplace (especially on our bosses) and makes its way all the way to the President of our country. Who are we to judge? Isn’t judgement left up to our God?
Just as Christ told us in…
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.”
James 4:12 – “There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?”
We are not to be the judges of one another. Instead, as a God-fearing people, we are to look upon others without judgement but more with understanding. Let’s just leave the judgement thing up to God.
It’s Our Issue
There were many times this week when I sat and listened to others talking about someone else in an ill manner and quickly criticizing everything they said or did. As a Godly man, I couldn’t help but think, “How sad. Why do people say such mean things about each other and how did they become so righteous?”
More often than not, when it comes to judging others, we are the ones with the issue. We have something going on within our own mind, our own heart and within our own life that makes us feel the need to judge others and condemn them for their actions when, ever so clearly, we should be taking a better look at ourselves just as Jesus told us in…
Luke 6:42 – “How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.’”
How can we be the judge of others, especially those we don’t even know, when we have no idea or understanding what may be going on in their lives? Take the plank out of your eye!
How too, can we be the judge of others when there are SO many things about ourselves we need to work on. Honestly, ask yourself… am I perfect? I think your answer, unless your highly egotistical and adore yourself above everyone else, is probably no… we need some work.
Dirty Laundry… A Short Story About Judging Others
“The clarity of the window through which we look.” That alone, says a lot. Our eyes are our window.
Luke 11:34 – “Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness.”
How about this story I found… Imagine you are walking through the woods and you see a small dog. It looks cute and friendly. You approach and move to pet the dog. Suddenly it snarls and tries to bite you. The dog no longer seems cute and you feel fear and possibly anger. Then, as the wind blows, the leaves on the ground are carried away and you see the dog has one of its legs caught in a trap. Now, you feel compassion for the dog. You know it became aggressive because it is in pain and is suffering.
Isn’t it our job as children of God, to first look upon others with compassion just as you may have done with the trapped little dog?
Colossians 3:12 – “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
We cannot possibly understand what a person may be going through nor, in most cases, do we want to understand. Their pain may be great and something we ourselves have, thankfully, never experienced. Learn to treat others, not knowing who they are, with the same love and compassion as our Lord provides us.
I think it is up to us to learn what it is to accept others. Let us not be judges but allow others into our lives that we might understand better the trials and tribulations they may be facing.
Hebrews 13:2 – “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.”
A very valuable lesson from Hebrews. If we are accepting of others, showing hospitality and kindness, we are “entertaining the Angels” which, in doing so, are pleasing God.
An Understanding Heart
Understanding is another asset that we, as Christians, must exhibit. The book of Proverbs is all over this topic.
Proverbs 18:2 – “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.”
Are we “the fools?” Where is our heart when we’re so quick to judge another? Haven’t we given our hearts to God? I can assure you, we have all done many things not necessarily pleasing to our Lord but, nonetheless, He always shows us understanding and compassion despite the many times we disappoint Him.
Proverbs 17:27 – “Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.”
“Restrain our words.” It just makes sense, doesn’t it? We are not to judge; not to condemn but, instead, react with compassion, acceptance and an understanding heart.
I decided to do a little research last week on how society views judgmental people. The results were rather interesting.
Top 10 Reasons to Stop Judging People
- Don’t blame yourself. We are instinctively hard-wired for survival. When we see a dog (or a person) that might bite us (literally or metaphorically), of course we feel threatened. We go into fight-flight-freeze mode, and are unable to see the myriad possible reasons for another’s behavior. We get tight and defensive. This is a normal first reaction. The key is to pause before we act out of this mode.
- Be mindful. Although judgment is a natural instinct, try to catch yourself before you speak, or send that nasty email and do any potential harm. You can’t get your words back. Pause. See if you can understand where the person may be coming from. Try to rephrase your critical internal thought into a positive one, or at least a neutral one. After all, like that dog in the trap, we really don’t know the reasons for someone’s behavior.
- Depersonalize. When someone disagrees with us or somehow makes our life difficult, remember that it’s typically not about us. It may be about their pain or struggle. Why not give others the benefit of the doubt? “Never underestimate the pain of a person,” Will Smith said, “because in all honesty, everyone is struggling. Some people are better at hiding it than others.”
- Look for basic goodness. This takes practice, as our minds naturally scan for the negative, but if we try, we can almost always find something good about another person.
- Repeat the mantra, “Just like me.” Remember, we are more alike than different. When I feel critical of someone, I try to remind myself that the other person loves their family just like I do, and wants to be happy and free of suffering, just like I do. Most important, that person makes mistakes, just like I do.
- Reframe. When someone does something you don’t like, perhaps think of it as they are simply solving a problem in a different way than you would. Or maybe they have a different timetable than you do. This may help you be more open-minded and accepting of their behavior.
The Dalai Lama says: “People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.”
- Look at your own behavior. Sometimes, we may be judging someone for something that we do ourselves, or have done. For example, the next time you find yourself yelling at someone while you’re driving, ask yourself, “Have I ever driven poorly?” Of course, we all have.
- Educate yourself. When people do things that are annoying, they may have a hidden disability. For example, some people with poor social skills may have Asperger’s syndrome or a high-functioning form of autism. So, if someone’s invading your personal space (as someone with Asperger’s might), remember again, it’s not about you. Albert Einstein said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
- Give the person the benefit of the doubt. Someone once told me, no one wakes up in the morning and says, “I think I’m going to be a jerk today.” Most of us do the best we can with the resources we have at the moment.
- Feel good about you. Brene´ Brown says: “If I feel good about my parenting, I have no interest in judging other people’s choices. If I feel good about my body, I don’t go around making fun of other people’s weight or appearance. We’re hard on each other because were using each other as a launching pad out of her own perceived deficiency.”
Hey… not a bad lesson from Psychology Today huh? If you read through these 10 points and think about them a little more, you will see the “Godly” message within them all.
The next time you’re watching and listening to others, try and remember this lesson. Life is difficult for many people. We have an advantage over a lot of them as we know we have a God in Heaven that loves us unconditionally and forgives us for all we do wrong.
If you need to judge… judge yourself but talk to God first. He is the only true judge. Let the Holy Spirit fill you and walk with Jesus down the path of love and understanding. In doing so, you may open the eyes of others that may follow your lead and, ultimately, make this world a better place to live in.
Go with God; be good to one another; always stay humble; always be kind… God Bless!