Last week my bible study topic was on not judging others. It’s a chapter I need to read every week to keep myself refreshed. Judging is something we do out of a lack of security in our own identity. We do it out of a need to make others wrong and ourselves right. It’s also a way to get validation from others when we gossip about our judgement. I know that can definitely be true for me.
Judging can release an immediate feeling of self-righteousness, but it feels icky and gross when the temporary feeling has worn off. This scripture actually explains why: Do not judge so that you will not be judged. “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7:1-2
When you first read this scripture, you might assume that it’s just talking about how other people would judge us by our own standard. But the way we judge others is actually a reflection on how we judge ourselves. When we feel the need to make someone else wrong, that means that we are trying to prove something about ourselves. But why do we need to do prove anything when our identity is rooted in Christ? If we know we are in-dwelt by Christ and live securely within in the Kingdom of God, the only way we should see others is through eyes of compassion and understanding. It’s actually a much more empowering perspective if you think about it.
Judging and gossiping is also tempting because it gives us a feeling of control. Needing control is not trusting God. He sees everything and sees the content of our hearts, so we can rest secure in that. If you feel someone needs to be corrected in your life, you may or may not be the right person to approach them on the matter.
The verses following from Matthew 7:1-2 say this:
“…First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.“Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” Matthew 7:5-6
Jesus is saying to take the log of a judgmental spirit out of your eye before judging so that you may see clearly with understanding first. Secondly, he isn’t saying that you can’t give pearls of wisdom to pigs because they are unworthy. Did you know that pigs do not have the ability to digest pearls? That means, if you come at a person with Godly advice or wisdom who might need to be corrected, especially with a spirit of judgement, they will retaliate with defensive behavior.
Of course that doesn’t mean that you don’t address the issue, but Jesus further explains the wise approach someone.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” Matthew 7:7
Jesus is telling us to go to prayer to seek the answer. Rather than attacking or assuming things about a person, God is saying to ask Him what’s going on first. It’s amazing how it can totally shift my perspective about someone and their situation when I go to God about it. I say, “God, reveal to me how you see this person. Show me how to understand their behavior.”
A really great rule of thumb in discerning whether we should approach someone about something is to ask ourselves if we would be willing to walk with them through their transformation process. Are we willing to sacrifice time and energy to be there for them? That would be a true spirit of love. Throwing daggers of accusation from a distance and then walking away is a spirit of judgment and is extremely harmful and destructive, not only to that person but also to you.
The negative thoughts about them are in your mind so they are impacting your feelings and actions without you even realizing it.
Jesus closes out the lesson with the Golden Rule: “In everything, treat people the same way you want them to treat you.” Matthew 7:12
In The Good and Beautiful Life, gossip is defined as talking negatively about someone who isn’t present. A good way to practice not judging others is to go a day without gossip. I’ve been doing this for the last week and have definitely noticed things hit the tip of my tongue that I would normally pass off as “venting” or “processing.” But if you wouldn’t want it said about you, it’s a good reminder that you could shift your perspective to compassion. I actually feel so much freer, calmer and more peaceful in this practice. I hope it helps you too!
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