Why & How Not to Judge Others
Ever made a snap judgment you later regretted? Too often we jump to a conclusion about someone without having all the information. Jesus knows this about us and loves us enough to teach us how to grow in this area. Walt points us straight to it.
Do not judge, or you will be judged. For with the same judgment you pronounce, you will be judged; and with the measure you use,it will be measured to you.Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but fail to notice the beam in your own eye? Matthew 7:1-3
Imagine you are a pastor speaking in a large church setting, and seated in the front row is a visiting gentleman who falls soundly asleep as you begin to preach. His wife seated next to him just smiles and nods as you preach your heart out – but the man just sleeps. How would you feel?
A nationally known pastor friend had this happen to him and he became more and more frustrated and agitated as the man serenely slept. He increased his volume and moved more vigorously across the platform – but the man still slept.
As the service concluded and he moved to the back to greet individuals he decided to confront the man and his rude behavior. Thankfully his wife first arrived first and expressed her delight in being able to hear their favorite preacher in person. They had traveled across the country on their last vacation together to hear him before her husband died of terminal cancer. His morphine caused him to sleep – and she hoped this had not caused a distraction!
Do you ever assume you know why others do the things they do, and then immediately judge them for it? I do, and this is not what God wants my first response to be.
This leads to at least three thoughts on the subject of judging others.
- We need to focus on our own thoughts and attitudes of our hearts before we look at others. I have enough inconsistency in my own life to examine and seek the Lord’s power to bring into conformity with His righteous standards. This should keep me occupied and prayerful, leaving little time to criticize others.
- We don’t always have sufficient knowledge to judge others righteously. I love where God askes his struggling servant Job a series of questions (Job 38-41) designed to remind him of his serious lack of eternal perspective. We just don’t know enough to judge others well!
- God and His Word will someday judge all things righteously – and we should long for that day and leave judgment in God’s hands! Heb. 4:12, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
Self-examination with grace offered to others (and even grace offered to myself) can lead to growing personal holiness and helpfulness to my brother. Mt. 7:4-5 says: “How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while there is still a beam in your own eye? You hypocrite! First take the beam out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
Personal assessment should result in blessings not judgment of others around us. We can trust God to judge righteously in due time.