I am not judgmental…am I?
“I could do it way better than him.” “Why would she do it that way?” “They spent the money on that!?” “I can’t believe that he smokes!” “Look at how poorly they are raising their kids.” “I can’t believe that they voted him as elder/deacon.” “Do you know what she did when she was younger?”
The above statements are all examples of a judgmental attitude. Do you have a judgmental attitude? I admit it, I have had thoughts similar to some of the phrases above and I still, in my fallen nature occasionally struggle with a critical mindset. When I was younger I was prone to judge people even for small things like falling asleep at church, or silly things like a committee doing things in a way I wouldn’t do them; in fact I was even judgmental of people who made judgmental remarks!
Being judgmental is a nasty sin that typically goes unpunished and uncontested yet hardly unnoticed. It is one of the most prevalent and destructive sins in the Church. Critical attitudes towards fellow Christians frequently lead to gossip, malice and slander, which can lead to bitterness and resentment for all involved. All of these sins are rooted in hate which Jesus told us is the same as murder! How can this be possible? How could I, a Christian, born of the spirit who has a relationship with our forgiving God have a judgmental attitude? It should not be a character trait of a Christian who understands how much the Lord has forgiven them. Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:1-5
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 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.
Jesus is not saying, “Don’t let others judge you.” He is not saying, “Ignore those who judge you.” Jesus is not talking about people who judge you or hurt you or wrong you; He is directing this at YOU! YOU don’t judge! Jesus is talking to the reader of this text, not the person who hurt you, but to YOU! Me? Yep. Me. If I want to be his follower, I had best take a look at this and figure it out! The same goes for you.
Whether it has to do with people’s actions, words, parenting styles or weaknesses or struggles or sins or how they serve in the church. Be careful, Jesus says. So when you think about your brother or sister, you have to ask whether you are doing it with a desire to build up them up in love to the glory of God. Or if you are doing it to put someone down, or put her in her place, or condemn him, or pass on gossip, or feel better about yourself. Is our attitude one that shows concern for our brother? Does it have a desire to restore your sister if in fact she has sinned? Because if we judge with an attitude of simply putting people down, Jesus says that will influence how God will judge us. If we judge with an attitude of love, compassion and helping and restoring, building and forgiving… I think you see where I am going with this…This will influence how God will judge us.
If you know what it is like to be judged by God and then forgiven, and called to get up and leave it behind and move on and grow in discipleship and in the Spirit, then you know the attitude you should have with your brothers and sisters. This is the discipleship to which Jesus calls us. Paul was the chief of sinners, a murderer of God’s people. If he can be an apostle, then why are we judging our overseers on past sins that are forgiven? If you are not happy with a decision the CofA made, or the ladies Circle or some other committee or function in the church, then get up and serve to the glory of God and for the upbuilding of the church! It is so much easier to judge someone for the way they serve in the church than it is to get off your seat and serve. When was the last time I volunteered to usher or greet or host? When was the last time I thanked the ladies circle or one of the many coordinators for the hours of time they spend in His and our service? Don’t be surprised if I walk up to you at church on Sunday and thank you for something.
Let me leave you with this:
If therefore there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.