Judgy (is that even a word?) people are not fun to be around. They rarely seem happy and regularly look for faults in other people. They police others by a standard of their own making.
It’s hard to satisfy a judgmental person. You will never be good enough to earn their respect.
However, I think it reveals a deeper issue. When we judge or look down on someone else, we are, in a twisted way, elevating ourselves. If you get 60% on an exam you may feel bad until you meet the person who got 53%. Then you might even feel a bit superior and smug about your own lackluster performance.
Note: If you have to put another person down in order to look good you probably need to check yourself!
Jesus talked a lot about judging while he was on the earth. The main thrust of his teaching was that if you are going to judge someone you better have your own house in order. There is nothing worse than a hypocrite who says one thing and does another (see Matthew 7:1-5).
However, in our culture, we have come to a place where we think that no one has the right to judge us. No one has the right to call us on the character traits/choices in our lives that are hurting us or others. “You can’t judge me!” is the cry of our culture. This is not healthy or true.
Love: The Ultimate Motive
Love was the motivating factor for everything that Jesus did while he was on the earth. It was his love for people that had him teach about all sorts of issues, from sexuality to finances to relationships. Jesus didn’t impose standards because he hated or wanted to burden people; he did it so that people could experience freedom and joy in their lives (Matthew 11:30).
As a Christian, it is not my place to judge people who do not have a relationship with Jesus by the standards of the Bible (1 Corinthians 5:12). However, I am called to encourage, correct and even discipline fellow Christians when they are not living the way the Jesus has asked them to live. Why? For their own good, and because it is people who claim they are Christians and live unlike Jesus that give him a bad name. Hypocrisy has kept many people away from Jesus. We can’t allow this to happen.
A loving parent corrects a child when they are doing something harmful. A loving Christian corrects and encourages a fellow believer when they are harming themselves and others through words and actions that aren’t Godly. Love cares enough to confront, and then comfort that person as they turn from their ways.
Leading and Learning
I have surrendered myself to input from several people whom I meet with on a regular basis. They have the right to call me higher in areas that I am struggling with. They love me and have my best interests in mind. Some of our conversations have been difficult, but they have been good. And I am better because they care enough to call me out and call me up.
This week, may you lead your life with love. Have compassion and grace for those who are far from Jesus, and encourage those who are trying their best to follow Jesus. We need one another!