A while ago, someone hurled an array of really judgmental, hurtful things to me. Her words poured out from a complete lack of understanding. She assumed a ton of negative things and jumped to hurtful conclusions. After the confrontation, my hands shook, burning tears fought to burst out, but I held them back, not wanting to "give that" to her. This situation caused me to lose sleep and mental energy I would have rather spent a hundred other ways.
Has this ever happened to you?
I recently stumbled across a prayer card I made for this person, and it reminded me of great advice a wise mentor gave me. She said to pray the person would be freed from the prison of judging others. Wow, this rang so true. Judging is a prison, isn't it? It hurts to be judged and not understood. It stings when the benefit of the doubt is withheld. And it mars the judger as well.
I've slipped into judgmentalism from time to time. It happens subtly, don't you think? We somehow justify our critical thoughts as if we're only trying to help the situation. I often wonder if that's how the Pharisees rationalized their outrageous pietism. When they nitpicked about harvesting wheat, they were only trying to help Jesus understand the Sabbath laws. When they repeatedly accused Jesus, I bet they thought were acting as God's hand of righteousness.
When I feel like judging someone, sadly, similar pride wells up. This person needs to know what they're doing wrong, don't they? I can be the one who puts them back on the right track. These thoughts rarely come from a place of humility and care. More likely, pride is the motivator.
(Yet, you may be thinking, we are called to encourage our brothers and sisters to repentance when they are in sin. Check in next week for a post about three guidelines for admonishing I've learned from Jesus.)
I'm always impacted by the story of the woman caught in adultery. She was guilty, truly guilty, and her accusers thought they had the right to condemn, but they didn't. Jesus was the only one who DID have the right! He was the only one without sin. But he didn't cast the first stone. If the holy, righteous Son of God didn't condemn, neither will I.
Let's encourage one another and not judge. Let's cease from making negative assumptions, but bathe our thoughts, words, and actions in compassion and grace.
Why? Because he loves us, and out of that love, we serve.
Remember, he loves you like there's no tomorrow.
Learn more about God's amazing love in the book about how I died and he brought me back.
Grab the first three chapters FREE by clicking here.