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Can I Judge Without Being Judgmental?

Can I Judge Without Being Judgmental?

Writings from He Gets Us

There’s a scripture that kind of trips us up. Whether you’re a Bible reader or not, you’re probably familiar with it.

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. — Matthew 7:1

Jesus said this toward the end of one of his most famous sermons. He was calling out the hypocrisy of pointing out the faults in others when we have our own faults we should be working on.

But is it realistic to never judge anyone? There are times when judging is necessary. When applying for a job, it’s natural to think, Do I want to work for this person? When meeting someone you’re attracted to, Should I ask them out on a date? When you need to confide in someone, Who do I trust as a friend? Just spending a couple of minutes online, we realize our entire world is now based on reviews. From doctors to hotels, restaurants to dog walkers, many businesses live or die by the number of stars by their names. Honest evaluation of others is necessary for a safe and functioning society.

  • Honest evaluation, however, is not the judgment Jesus meant.

The judging Jesus referred to comes from a different place. It comes from our egos, from seeking to elevate ourselves by belittling someone else. Or trying to justify our own bad behaviors by labeling somebody else’s behavior as worse. Sometimes, biases and grudges affect how we view and treat others.

With that in mind, Jesus asked us to stop pinpointing the shortcomings of others and to look inwardly and deeply examine our own hearts and motives. It’s not comfortable. But here’s why it’s so important: Jesus knew that if we focused on our own faults and weaknesses, we would become more empathetic toward others. We’d recognize that, like us, every person has challenges and struggles that we can relate to. And that’s how Jesus’ radical love is demonstrated today. By recognizing our own flaws, we can all become a little more merciful, a little more patient, and a little more loving toward one another.

Writings from Max Lucado

Judgmental people would ask, “Why deal with my mistakes when I can focus on the mistakes of others?”

They might follow up with internal struggles like I may be bad, but as long as I can find someone worse, I am safe. They fuel their goodness with the failures of others. They are the self-appointed teacher’s pets in elementary school. They tattle on the sloppy work of others, oblivious to the F on their own papers. They are the neighborhood watchdogs, passing out citations for people to clean up their acts, never noticing the garbage on their own front lawns.

“Come on, God, let me show You the evil deeds of my neighbor,” the moralists invite. But God won’t follow them into the valley.

If you think you can judge others, you are wrong. When you judge them, you are really judging yourself guilty, because you do the same things they do. — Romans 2:1 NCV

It’s a shallow ploy, and God won’t fall for it.

It is one thing to have a conviction; it’s another to convict the person. Paul said in Romans 2:2:

God judges those who do wrong things, and we know that His judging is right. — NCV

It’s important to recognize the difference between honest evaluations and judgment — that is where the majority of misconceptions arise. You must know that you’re not a sinner because you judged someone. Let’s face it, we all do it more than we’d like to admit, but it’s part of our makeup.

The Bible speaks about sin, how we miss the mark of God and His holy nature. We see the devastating effects of sin all around us every day. It is our job to hate the sin. But it is God’s job to deal with the sinner.

  • God has called us to despise evil, but He has never called us to despise the evildoer.

But, oh, how we would like to! Is there any act more delightful than judging others? There’s something smug and self-satisfying about slamming down the gavel... “Guilty!” Judging others is a quick and easy way to feel good about ourselves. But that’s the problem. God doesn’t compare us to them. They are not the standard. God is. And compared to Him, Paul argued in Romans 3:12,

There is no one who does anything good. — NCV

Scripture references: Matthew 7:1; Luke 6:37; John 7:24

Excerpted with permission from He Gets Us, copyright He Gets Us.

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Your Turn

We've all see others judging people while ignoring their own bad behavior, haven't we? But, it's much less easy to see it in ourselves. Lets stop and pray today that the Holy Spirit would guide us in our thoughts and prick our consciences when we're judging inappropriately. ~ Devotionals Daily