Last year I had a blog post on mommygofast about judgement of people. It got a lively response. For months I’ve been finessing on this post, rehashing old thoughts and solidifying my stance.
Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor? – James 4:11-12
If there is any conversation that I get uncomfortable in, it’s in conversations of passing judgement on other people. So many do it so easily… Judging others on their body size, the color of their skin, on their level of education, on the choices they make with regard to just about anything and even on their religion. … Judging not even on other people’s sins but just on their life!
FIRST, let me knock the judging on sin thing out first. People have disagreed with me on this but I stand firm that plain and simple WE ARE NOT TO JUDGE. Jesus himself says here:
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. – Matthew 7:3-5
Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned. – Luke 6:37
But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them,“He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” – John 8:7
Now, this does not mean that we just cannot or won’t recognize sin. Obviously we can and should but one man’s sin is no worse than my sin. We ALL have sins. Every single one of us struggles with some kind of sin… And if you are scratching your head trying to come up with one or you are thinking that I’m out of my fool brain worrying about YOUR sin then I say you might need to pray on this topic.
For example, you might know someone who is an adulterer. This may make you more uncomfortable than say the sin of your friend who struggles badly with gossip. However, neither person is less deserving of your love and caring based on their sins alone.
SECONDLY, I move on to judgement on differences of opinion… Of lifestyles.
I remember when I went to my first southern baptist church service. Growing up in a Catholic Church did not prepare me for a band on a stage with contemporary music and a preacher reflecting on items in a handout. It felt very strange and irreverent to not have an altar and to witness outward displays of worship. Many of my Catholic cohorts might yell, “BLASPHEMY!! What were you doing worshipping in a Protestant service with Protestant people?! You, Jamie, are going to hell for blaspheming the One True Church.”
On the other side, I’ve got folks who will say, “Catholic?! You worship saints and Mary!! You pray on beads!! You, Jamie, are going to hell!!”
Both of these kinds of people are sad indeed. First off, each needs to get a grip. We ALL are trying to do the right thing and disagree on doctrine and worship styles and, what my brother calls, “minor league” differences. Let’s worry about the “majors” and less about the “minors.”
Also, these kinds of religious zealots who are setting up their friend base have nixed a large population based on religion. If they do decide to befriend someone of the other religion, they will always think in the back of their mind how they are better than the other person because they belong to the better church. Sounds like a great friend, ehe?
People, and I’m talking Christian people even, like to judge on so many other issues as well. “Oh she had a child out of wedlock?!” “Oh he is living with his girlfriend?!” “Oh their child is homosexual?!” “Oh they drink liquor?!” “Oh he is an alcoholic?!”
Why do we, as Christians, do this?!?! I will tell you that if I took a hard stance and choose to only be friends with people who were just like me then I’d still be looking. All of my friends have made some bad choices. I myself have made some bad choices. WE ARE ALL SINNERS. …and the real beauty is we learn from each other. We all bring different perspectives and life experiences to the table to lift one another up. I may have made some dumb choice in life and then lived to tell the tale. My girlfriend may have lived through some sin I’m struggling with and can help and guide me.
I would LOVE to say that this release of judgement comes with age, but it does not. I would love to say that it comes with education. NOPE. I think it truly stems from those teachings of Christ. If we worry more about loving on people then the judging people falls away.
There are people in this world who will size someone up in a minute flat. They hear a person’s back story. They take that information and quick as lightning they have ranked and filed that person. They’ve shoved that person into some box that they’ve created. They’ve decided that person isn’t worth their time because their sin is different (worse than their own of course), they don’t trust them, they don’t like them, they all around are just unsure of someone with a different past (or present) than their own.
In your own families I guarantee there are people who are struggling (or have struggled) with the following:
– addiction problems
– sexual abuse
– unplanned pregnancy
– jail time
Having gone through any one of these things doesn’t make someone evil. It doesn’t make someone not worth your time. It doesn’t make someone a questionable friend. It doesn’t make them unworthy of love.
I think about the Jewish priests and how they were baffled by what Jesus was teaching. He was a trailblazer (obviously he’s SO MUCH MORE than that, but he was at the least a trailblazer). He was preaching and saying things that were making people’s heads spin.
You sinned? No matter. Receive my word, repent and live in love.
Think about it this way, Jesus didn’t say to only share love with similar people. He didn’t say share love with sinless people. He only said to LOVE… And you can’t love if you are judging. It is IMPOSSIBLE to love if you are sizing someone up and shoving them in a box. You cannot love someone if you are ranking and filing them.
Judging a person doesn’t define who THEY are… it defines who YOU are. – source unknown