Why Do You Judge?
Many of you know that when we study scripture, it also studies us. I was reminded of that this week as I was studying Jesus’ teaching on judging others (Matthew 7:1-6). As I was reading and studying this passage, an uncomfortable truth hit me……I judge other people. As I grappled with this uncomfortable truth, I found myself wondering why I judge other people. Three reasons came to the forefront of my mind:
1. Jealousy – I see people having things that I want and don’t have, like the job I want or a certain personality trait that I wished I had. This jealousy often turns into resentment and I become self-righteous and think that I am more worthy than they are to receive what they have. But, being jealous of another person causes me to lose focus on the unique gifts that God has created within me. Instead of glorifying God for how he created me, this jealousy leads me to judge others. 2. Hurt – Pain, especially emotional pain has been an unjustified motivation for me to judge others. In fact, when I am hurt, I tend to become judge and jury against the person who has hurt me. Whereas I want mercy for myself when I cause someone pain, I require justice for the one who has hurt me. The bible says that vengeance belongs to God (Romans 12:19), but too often I think He is operating too slowly and I take upon myself the right to judge the one who has caused me pain. 3. Difference – Someone being different than I am is perhaps my most common reason for judging of others. This difference doesn't have to do with appearance. Rather it has to do with a difference in how a person does things or responds to circumstances in their lives. When I judge people because of these things, I’m failing to appreciate their unique design or look at the big picture of their lives and see how circumstances may have caused them to respond in a way different from me.
You see men, when we judge others, we feel like we are qualified to do God’s job. Jesus knows this about us and He warns us that God Himself will judge us and apply to us the same rules by which we ourselves judged another. It is us who sets the standard of fairness and justice and we would be wise to remember that how we judge others is how we will be judged. So, don’t try to be Godlike in judgment. Rather be like Him in mercy; “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” (Matthew 5:7).
This Week’s Challenge: This week, when you are ready to judge someone, check to see if you deserve the same judgment? Judge yourself first, and then show mercy and love to your neighbor.