February 22, 2023
The Danger of Judging People
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 NIV).
Friend to Friend
Who pulls in a car like this? What are they thinking? What is wrong with them?
The people maneuvered their car an inch away from mine! Who does that? Not only did they pull close, but they pulled in horizontal to the front of my car, leaving me almost zero ease at inching out of the car line at my kid’s school.
I lifted my head and craned my neck. Who in the world would do such a thing?!
I began to formulate a mental script of who they were based on what they did. These are the sorts of people who do that.
Friends? As embarrassing as it is to say, that was me, yesterday morning. It’s horrible, I know. But, I suppose, there is some redemption in all this, and it is this: I caught my mind, red-handed! I captured my thought, in the moment, and said to myself, “Hey Kelly, you are judging again!”
This is a small victory, I suppose, and it makes me happy. You see, I am a judger. Of course, we all know there is only one Judge, The Judge, God. But, what I tend to do is negate His authority and usurp His position. It’s like I say to the Supreme Court Judge, “Move on over, I’ve got this!”
I bus my verdict right in. As if it means everything. And, as of late, I have become aware that it is a very scary thing to do…and it puts me in grave danger…
Scripture says, “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 NIV).
I judge often… I put hefty requirements on other people… I don’t afford others as much grace as I expect to receive… I think critical thoughts…
For instance, at the grocery store, if the check-out attendant is slow, I think, pick up the pace already! Do you even care about your job, or people for that matter!?
If a slow driver is ahead of me, I might think, what is wrong with this person? I want to scream, “Get a move on!”
When a group of people stop to talk in the middle of a sidewalk, I want to bump their bodies right off the sidewalk because I figure they must be clueless!
My husband? I judge the way he talks, the way he gives me advice, the way he has or has not done things.
I am guilty.
I hide these mean and unruly thoughts in the deep caves of my mind, where no one can see. I look like a sweet Christian blogger and speaker on the outside, but I can be one cruel, finger-pointing Pharisee on the inside.
This scares me a tad. The eyes of Pharisees were so consumed with the wrongs others did; they couldn’t even see the goodness of Jesus. There He was, the Savior of the world, right before them, but they missed Him entirely. Why? Because they got so wrapped up in what people should be doing, and how things should be happening, that they missed – Him – the One who was going to flip the whole back-breaking law-system on its head to usher in the power of life-freeing grace.
I don’t want to miss Jesus, because I judge people. Do you? I don’t want to miss grace because I hold people to ridiculous standards that I don’t even keep. Do you?
In place of judgment, I will seek to:
- Put myself in other people’s shoes and offer them the benefit of the doubt. They may be having a hard day. They may be in a state of despair because they got a horrible diagnosis.
- Recognize I have flaws just as much as anyone else does. I am no better than anyone else; I am a sheep in God’s great sheep pen too. I need a Savior as much as the next person.
- Pray, instead of critique in my day. If I am judging, I cannot be loving or praying for people. But, when I see through Jesus’ eyes, I can love with His hands. I seek to look at people differently.
Jesus is Savior to all in need. Clearly, I am in need of His saving help too. To realize my need is to let go of the need to take His seat, the high seat of judgment.
Dear Lord, I am guilty. I judge. Please forgive me. I don’t want to size people up. I don’t want to make declarations over people. I don’t want to speak poorly about others. I am sorry. Forgive me. I am in need of Your grace and Your help. Please sound an alarm in my mind when I start to stray off. Help me to think the best and to believe the best. Make me love people like you do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
What can you do when a judgmental thought comes to your mind? What would it look like for you to love the people you are prone to judge?
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Originally published Wednesday, 22 February 2023.