To Judge or Not to Judge

To Judge or Not to Judge – How Our Judgments Affect Christian Life

To Judge or Not to Judge - How Our Judgments Affect Christian Life
Photo by Conal Gallagher

To Judge or Not to Judge – How Our Judgments Affect Christian Life

Oh, how often we judge others. The act of judging is so prominent in humanity; the most widely-known personality test measures it. Why are we so quick to judge? Are we trying to justify or downplay our own faults? Are we trying to make ourselves feel or appear better?

Our judgments often signify faults of our own. Jesus said, "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." John 8:7

In Matthew 7:1-5, Jesus said, "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."

The truth is, we're all in the same boat together. We're all sinners. We just sin differently. We have different vices, and evil seeks to do harm in a variety of ways. It's human nature to make mistakes, but Jesus says we can have new life through him. If we judge others before they have a chance to come to know Jesus, we might be turning them away from Him for good.

The biggest turnoff about the traditional church is that oftentimes people in the church come across as thinking they are better than others, whether they intend to or not. And the pastor oftentimes comes across as untouchable, like he has achieved some higher level of spiritual relationship with God, one that we couldn't possibly hope to gain for ourselves.

The traditional church has done a disservice to society and it continues to do so. It is built more on laws rather than relationship and love. The message conveyed is: "You're not as good as me, but keep coming to church every week and reading your bible and maybe one day you will be."

It's no wonder people are turned off by religion. Why would they want to enter a building where they know they'll instantly feel looked down upon? And if they do it once, why would they want to do it again? Where's the sign-up sheet for that?

While we may not agree with the things that other people do or believe, it isn't our job to judge. "What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside." 1 Corinthians 5:12

The Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians says that believers should judge other believers; however, believers should not judge those who do not believe. His reasoning is that believers view matters from a godly vantage point and are thus fully competent to judge claims made by one Christian against another.

When we are not oblivious to our mistakes, when we humble ourselves and admit that we make mistakes, too, that's when we are able to reach nonbelievers or those who are seeking something more. We don't believe that we're better than anyone else, and we're humble enough to show others the joy that we feel from having a relationship with God. This is something Christians should be striving for every day. It isn't enough to become a believer and say, "That's it. I'm good," and then do nothing else. Being a follower of Jesus means that we are going after God's own heart every day. He doesn't want us to sit on the sidelines; he wants us shining His light on others so that they may, too, believe…

And in order to do that, we need to lay our judgments aside and not be afraid to acknowledge our own weaknesses. That doesn't mean we air our weaknesses all over social media. If you feel called to do that and you've learned a lot from your mistakes and you can help others in a positive way, then go for it. But we can't pretend that they don't exist, that we aren't fighting our own demons every single day. The battle is real, but we've been given the tools to overcome.

Jody Calkins
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