Have you spent much time in the comments section on social media lately?
One word: YIKES.
Our world has spiraled down into a nightmare where everyone is judge and jury over everything! Comments can range from overly negative to downright cruel and obscene.
The fact is: our world has become judgmental.
And the church isn’t much better. Actually, we may be the chief offenders. It’s almost like we live by a crazy math equation where we like ourselves more based on liking others less. MADNESS.
How can we “love one another” when we’re so eager to tear them down?
But there’s a better way! It’s the way of Jesus. Isn’t it amazing how Jesus was absolutely PERFECT…And yet, he spent so little of His time and energy judging those around Him? He was too busy loving and forgiving them!
And He calls us to live the same way.
Easier said than done, am I right? Here are some reminders for when you’re tempted to judge others:
You’re not the judge…me neither.
You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things. -Romans 2:1 NLT
NEWSFLASH: You’re not God.
Only God has the authority to act as a judge. In our fallenness, often we forget that we are not God, and we try to step into his shoes. And whenever we do that, things end up falling apart, because it’s not God’s design.
Judgment causes blindness to our own issues.
At the end of Luke 6, Jesus uses a quite hilarious picture to demonstrate this concept…he describes a person carefully reaching over to remove a speck of sawdust from his brother’s eye when he’s got a full-size plank stuck in his own eye. Ouch!
I’m sure you know what a plank is, right? It’s a 2×4. Next time you go to your favorite hardware store, head over to the lumber section and look at the 2×4’s. Then compare them to the sawdust on the ground. The Lord gives us a clear picture of how easy it is for us to have blindspots when it comes to our shortcomings.
Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. -Romans 12:3 NLT
Our judgment makes us hypocrites.
What I’ve found from years in ministry is that people will almost always give themselves the benefit of the doubt, but they’re quick to hold someone else to the strictest standards.
In other words, I get mercy; everyone else gets justice.
Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you…For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. -Luke 6:37-38 NIV
There is a way to address issues in someone’s life without standing in judgment.
Judgment changes into compassion when we realize that we are just like the person we are seeking to judge.
We have flaws and blind spots. We are in process, just as they are. Instead of bringing judgment, the faithful and compassionate concern of the saints weaves love and trust into every relationship, and into the fabric kingdom of God. And then, out of that compassion, we pray for them and help however we can.
Do you see what a simple yet absolutely transformative way of living that is?
When you feel judged, forgive.
Don’t just give an eye for an eye, but treat people way better than they treat you.
(Did you catch that? Treat people BETTER than they treat you.)
That’s what it means to be a follower of Jesus…Being able to say to somebody, “You give me a hard time, and I give you blessings upon blessings.”
Because that’s exactly who Jesus is.