In the church, everyone clearly knows he shouldn’t judge—because that’s the Christian thing to do. However, it’s easy to view this command as a chore rather than an action that brings greater joy and love into our relationship with God and others. For the longest time, I have struggled—and to a degree still struggle—to hold back my initial judgments, yet continue to strive to view one’s heart rather than his or her outer appearance or actions.
I’m not the expert in this topic, but for this blog, I’ll define judging as devaluing a person based on their character flaws. And I’ll be sharing some truths I’ve learned that have helped me overcome in wrongly judging others.
1. Judging others prevents you from experiencing God’s grace for your own shortcomings.
For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. (Matthew 7:2)
In Matthew, Jesus preaches that we are held to the same standard with which we judge the people around us. And I’ve experienced the consequences of this truth all too often for me to stay firm on my judgments of others. I would judge someone because of the way they have hurt me or have failed in their character. Then within the same day or week, I too would fail the same way or discover a deep flaw in my own heart. Because I did not previously extend grace to others, I then would struggle to believe when God pours out grace for my weaknesses. My own pride and self-righteousness hardened my heart from being moved by the grace of God.
2. Judging others prevents you from receiving and benefitting from their wisdom and strengths.
Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.” (Matthew 10:40-42)
Jesus also preaches that when we welcome and honor someone, we receive their rewards. On the flip side, if we reject or fail to welcome someone, we cannot receive the rewards he or she possess. This can be compared to someone refusing crucial treatment from a specialized doctor because the way he isn’t courteous to his patients. There are many times our hearts are closed to a brother or sister because we cannot tolerate certain weaknesses that irk us—leading us to be closed to the gifts and wisdom that they only have. Scripture says that the Holy Spirit has given each of us different gifts so that we can help and rely on one another (1 Corinthians 12:7-11), yet judgment hinders us from having the humility we need to access the gifts in one another, all because we cannot get over minor flaws.
3. Judging others agrees with the accusations of the enemy rather than the loving eyes of God.
The Bible often describes Satan as the accuser of the Brethren (Revelation 12:10), meaning that the enemy lives to strike at believers with words of judgment and condemnation. A classic example can be found in Job, where the enemy judges Job as a man who only loves God because of His blessings. Now this is the exact opposite with God, who loves His children and sings over them despite their weaknesses. In Song of Songs, the Shulamite lover is clearly depicted as weak, and lacking in perfect character—yet the lover (representative of Jesus) never ends in His praise for her beauty and love. Therefore, whenever we choose to entertain thoughts of judgment against our own brethren, we are siding with the thoughts of Satan, rather than the heart of the Father.
Therefore, I’ve come to rely on Scripture (2 Corinthians 10:5, 1 Samuel 16:7) to overcome this weakness of mine, taking my judgmental thoughts captive and letting them go in the light of what has been done on the cross. I’ve also learned to choose humility by choosing God’s thoughts over my own, realizing that my own Father sees the weaknesses of all but delights in the many ways His children strive to love and follow Christ.