Are You Judging Others?
Updated: Aug 31, 2018
"The Bible says you're not supposed to judge others!" A rather popular sentiment that is often shared by non-Christians in our society. And yes, the Bible does have plenty to say about judging other people. It’s not as if they are totally wrong. The trouble is, when most mention some sort of statement like the one above, they are meaning something different than the Bible. They are essentially saying that religion is a private matter. No one else has any business sticking their nose into another person’s life and beliefs. They also assume that morality is relative. Who are we to judge others? What we consider wrong may not be wrong for another person. They would be better suited saying what I think they are really meaning—“No one can tell me I’m wrong.”
And that is different than what Jesus is intending to say. When we are told to refrain from judging others, the Bible is not negating us of our personal moral responsibility while removing the possibility that we could be wrong. It’s not declaring, “Everyone do what is right in your own eyes and don’t worry about anyone else!” Jesus is meaning something drastically different when he talks about judging others.
Judging others is not about declaring if someone is right or wrong. We don’t judge someone when we tell them the truth about sin—we judge them after.
We judge others when we disregard a person's importance. When we view them as insignificant rather than as someone who God wants to forgive and love. When we say, “I don’t really want you around; depart from me."
Judging others happens when we fail to see how valuable someone is—not only to God, but also to our own lives. Jesus told people the truth about their sin—and then offered to bring them close. He sought to make his enemies his friends. Judging others involves making them feel condemned, trapped, alone, and discarded. When we judge others, we forget that the tomb is empty, Jesus is alive, and that he is calling us to salvation and working to transform our lives.
Signs We May Be Judging Others
Refusing to be around those you disagree with. It could be over politics, morality, or something as trivial as sports, but we can easily cut out the people we disagree with from our lives. We don’t have to feel the same way regarding every issue, or constantly compromise our position just to be agreeable, but we do have to be more committed to loving a person than we are to making sure others always agree with us.
You love to gossip. When someone sins or does something tragically disastrous, you jump at the chance to spread the word about what happened. It makes you excited to talk about it with others, you mention it to everyone who is somewhat close to you, and you dig for more information any way you can.
You refuse to forgive. When we refuse to forgive others, we are forgetting just how much God has forgiven us. When we say we forgive someone, but constantly remind them of what they did to us, and use it to justify our dismissal of them, we are not really offering forgiveness at all.
You are more concerned about everyone else’s sin than your own. We find it easy to point out and notice the flaws in others while ignoring our own. We may refuse to offer grace to someone struggling with a sin we have struggled with in the past. We want God and everyone to be angry at other’s sin but, when dealing with our own personal transgressions, want offered grace, mercy, and love.
You are unable to receive criticism. Everything is a personal attack against you. You are surprised to hear that you have faults—something that should be common knowledge among those who follow Christ and have had their eyes opened to the truth of God’s Word. You get defensive rather than admitting you may be at fault.
You don't value other's opinions or advice. Why? You don't need to. You know everything already. What's the best (and only) way to do something? Your way. Many of us think like this. We all will have different ways we do things, and sometimes our way is the best way, but that doesn't mean we are above the advice of others. God designed us to need others (and their opinions). It's dangerous to think your way of seeing things is the only way.
Give Them The Gospel
Engaging in one (or all) of the above behaviors increases the likelihood that you will dismiss, disregard, and in turn, judge others. These actions make it possible for the enemy of our souls to tempt us to write others off as ‘hopeless’. They make us forget that we serve a Savior who rose from the dead, raises the dead, and is capable of changing us and others. No one is hopeless. No one deserves to be dismissed as insignificant and unimportant. Rather than judging others, give them the gospel—bring them close.