"You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgement on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgement do the same things." - Romans 2:1 (NIV)
I believe I've said this in past blogs, but I've been making a concentrated effort to be less critical and judgemental. My effort is not always successful, though. There are times I'll see someone and, immediately, criticism will pop into my thoughts: "I can't believe they left the house wearing that!" or "Doesn't she realize how heavy that makes her look?" or "What were they thinking when they had their hair done like that?" or....any number of judgements. Or, someone will say something and I'll immediately think, "They're just making excuses." or "That's a lie." or "I can't believe they just said that!". I don't always catch myself when I judge someone, but when I do, I immediately ask God to forgive me and allow me to see the other person as someone He loves. God is the only righteous judge (Romans 5:2 NIV) so who do I think I am to make judgements against others?
One of the verses I quote to myself quite often is Matthew 7:1 (NIV): "Do not judge, or you too will be judged." This is Jesus saying this. He goes on to say, "For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." (vs 2). Ouch!! I can be pretty harsh in my judgements but I sure don't want to be judged harshly. Yet, that's exactly what's going to happen. When I stand before God on Judgement Day, He's going to judge me in the exact same way I stood in judgement of my fellow man. And, I find it funny, that when I look at the judgments I have against others, it's because they are doing, saying, thinking, or acting in the same way I do or have done in the past. Reminds me of the saying, "When you're pointing your finger at someone, remember that you have four other fingers pointing back at yourself." Jesus reinforces this saying in John 8:7 (NIV) when He says this about the woman caught in adultery, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."
I believe the Bible and it says I WILL be judged by God and by the same token that I judge others. I have to remind myself of this daily. I'm not perfect so who am I to expect everyone else to be? It's God's will that I love those I come into contact with each day. Jesus said it's the second greatest commandment: "Love the Lord your God will all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these." (Mark 12: 30-31 NIV). This commandment applies to everyone: my husband, my kids, my grandkids, my family, my friends, my enemies, complete strangers....EVERYONE! No matter what they say or how they act or what they do, there's no good reason, NONE!, EVER!, that I should judge them. Who do I think I am? God?
Some things I'd like to point out that we may not think of as judging others. The guy on the corner begging for money - do you say to yourself, "I'm not giving him any money. He's probably just going to buy booze with it." JUDGEMENT!! A teenager with a baby - do you think, "Well, that's what happens when parents don't control their children." JUDGEMENT!! The stranger who says something hateful to you - do you complain to everyone you know about what was said? JUDGEMENT!! Here's a good one - Casey Anthony! When she was acquitted, did you rant and rave about the unfairness and that she would get what was coming to her eventually? Did you wonder what in the world the jury could have been thinking? JUDGEMENT!!
We are sinners; I AM a sinner. It's very, very difficult to love everyone and not sit in judgement of their actions. Sometimes it makes us feel better about ourselves, but God says it's wrong. That's why I have to keep reminding myself: Who do I think I am?
"The habit of judging is so nearly incurable, and its cure is such an almost interminable process, that we must concentrate ourselves for a long while on keeping it in check. We must grow to something higher, and something truer, than a quickness in detecting evil." - Frederick W. Faber
Dear Heavenly Father, I am sometimes very quick to judge others. Keep me mindful that I, too, am a sinner, saved by grace, and You have commanded me not to judge. Please make me aware of when judgement comes into my heart so that I can ask for Your forgiveness and Your help in changing my attitude to love the person I had judgement for. Teach me to love and help others without judgement. It's in Jesus' name I ask, Amen.