Who Are We to Judge

by LESLIE SPEAS

Do you ever judge other people? If we are being honest, most of us do. We are often experts at seeing what is wrong with others. We judge others by their shortcomings or even the way they dress and talk. We even judge others for things that we ourselves are guilty of doing. 

Why do we judge? We may judge others because we aren’t secure in ourselves, and it makes us feel a little better to tear others down. Or, we may judge others because we think we know better, or maybe it’s our pride or a lack of wisdom. I have seen judgment occur frequently – and have been guilty of it, too. When I see people standing on the corner with a sign saying, “will work for food,” I tend to make the judgment that they don’t want to work and will spend any money they get on alcohol or drugs. This may be true in some instances, but I don’t know this to be the case. 

There may be times in life when we are called to judge, like being on a jury or working in an area of the law. There are also times God calls on us to discern others’ actions because of their potential impact on us. We may sometimes need to make judgments, so we don’t follow the wrong people. 

The kind of judgment that is most damaging is self-righteous judging. This type of judging causes us to wrongly interpret what’s going on with someone. We may think that a coworker is stuck up or conceited because she is quiet and withdrawn. She could have myriad things going on that cause her to appear or come across a certain way. The reality is that we all have something difficult going on in our lives and we all are broken. Self-righteous judgment can also cause us to wrongly estimate ourselves and others based on blind spots or self-deception. John 7:24 in the Bible says, “Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment.” 

Gossip is a form of judgment that probably most of us have engaged in at one time or another. Who doesn’t enjoy a little gossip occasionally? It can be interesting to share or hear a little dirt about someone, and it makes us feel just a little bit better about ourselves, right? The reality is that by judging others in a hypocritical way, we damage our own lives by stealing our joy and peace as we know it’s not the right thing to do.

Here are a few things you can do when you find yourself judging. 

  • Stop yourself

Notice your thoughts and stop yourself when you find yourself being judgmental. 

  • Seek to understand the person

Put yourself in the “judgee’s” shoes, find out their story if you can, or imagine the circumstances that may have led them to act or look as they do.

  • Accept the person

Accept the person for whom he/she is without trying to change him/her.

  • Love him or her

Love the other person as a brother or sister, a fellow child of God, regardless of their age, the color of their skin, their sex or their social status. Try using these tips when you find yourself judging other people. We are all works in progress, but they can certainly help us to be more accepting and manage the tendency to be judgmental. 

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