“By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.” Dietrich Bonheoffer, The Cost of Discipleship
Have you ever really thought about what it really means to judge another?
Judge is a verb and means, “to form an opinion about (something or someone) after careful thought. To regard (someone) as either good or bad.”
Tragically enough, the problem is that the process of forming an opinion, should take more time than some of us seem to have to dedicate towards it.
Today, it seems as though we are satisfied and justified, in developing an opinion about another, more importantly a Christian, with partial or misinformation without realizing the affects for all those involved.
It affects the one judging, the one being judged and anyone who is brought into the process by hearing, speaking or participation.
The result of this kind of judgment, when it is directed toward another, does not leave room for reconciliation or healing for those involved. Christians, in particularly, fall short of a beautiful process which is designed to remove confusion and division, not add to it.
Here is a statement of fact: “We all judge… Christians and Non-Christians alike.”
Judging is a part of life. It is a part of who we are and there is no getting away from it, regardless of the subject of judgment. We judge from the time we wake up until the time we go sleep. If we see it, hear it, taste it, smell it or feel it… we are judging it. And here is the best thing… its ok!
For Christians, it is only ok if done properly, from the right perspective, with all the facts and from all the evidences available. This is the same approach that our judicial system takes when it needs to make a judgment on a particular case. This process of judgment holds true in our secular systems of life as well as those Christian. The problem with many is that a true process involves time, something that most appear not to have.
There are several differences between the secular approaches to judging than that of a Christian’s approach. In the Christian approach, judging IS NEVER towards another Christian. As a result, the idea is that we would then not judge anyone.
Scripture details that Christians should not judge, one another. Romans 14:3 – “Therefore, let us not judge one another anymore...” Tragically enough however, IF a Christian does not understand the Biblical process towards judging, he is left to a secular one that does not yield the same Grace to others as shown to him by Christ.
A secular process toward judging is quite different from that of the Christian one. Often, the object of judgment IS another person.
The first thing that happens in a secular approach is the same as in the initial phase of the Christian process. We are brought outside information through any of the five senses: sight, touch, hear, taste and smell. In judging, some senses are more utilized than others, such as seeing and hearing.
As a result of involvement from the senses, emotions are typically formed as biases that are based on our own past experiences or the experiences of others, thus forming a foundation of understanding for an initial judgment and ultimate reaction.
Immediately after the initial phase of his judgment process, the Christian has an opportunity to step outside of emotion and the senses and onto a foundation of knowledge that is centered on the Life of Christ.
Generally, the time allowed for such an opportunity is fleeting and so quick that most cannot recognize it. Again, if the opportunity to step outside of emotion and senses is missed, the Christian is only left with a secular approach, and that is to continue in the process of judging another.
This is the point where the Christian has been given an opportunity to exercise a process first experienced through Christ’s life on earth that is reflective of His Knowledge, Love, Trust and more importantly, the GRACE of the Father.
Here is the question.
Why is it necessary for Christians NOT TO judge one another, but rather, leave ALL judgment to the Lord?
1st Corinthians 4:5 gives us the answer!
“Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.”
Though Christians are a new creation!
2nd Corinthians 5:12 reads, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. “
Though we have the mind of Christ!
- 1st Corinthians 2:16 reads, “For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.”
Though we are joint-heirs with Christ!
- Romans 8:16-17 reads, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ …”
We are still tied to this physical world and as a result, the limitations that are confined to it. We cannot, as 1st Corinthian 4:5 reads, see or begin to “reveal the things of darkness and the counsels of the hearts of men.”
Only God has the power to do that, which makes the heart the place of true or righteous judgment, nowhere else.
Proverbs 21:2 “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart.”
Psalm 44:21 “Would not God search this out? For He knows the secrets of the heart.”
Christians can only see the actions of man, not the spiritual things or the motivations of the heart or mind. And as a result, we judge the action alone, without the ability to see deeper into a person and his situation. This is equally sad if the one being judged is a Christian.
By the time we see the physical manifestation of a person’s actions or words, their true motivation was already seen and judged by God, because it was birthed within the heart. Since Christians have to wait until a person’s motivation turns into actions, we miss out on a huge piece of the puzzle called Righteous Judgment.
We are, as a result, left isolated from the judgmental process of the Lord as we take the secular approach into our own hands as it relates to another human being, Christian or not.
We no longer have an opportunity to reflect the Love and Grace of the Father as shown to us through Jesus Christ, which at the end of the day only affects those of us, who judge. Remember, the sin is not being judged, the sin is being the judge … and often times, jury.
It is important to remember:
- The senses will tingle and they will stir up all kinds of emotion.
- You do not have to transition those emotions into becoming emotional.
- You can instead slow down the mind and its thought processes in order to hear the ministry of the Holy Spirit and hear a Word from God.
- You will be able to stay centered and focus, as a result, on your identity as a Christian and what that means to the one that is about to be judged.
- Everyone involved has a testimony!
The beauty about being a Christian and the process of judging, is that when we do judge one another and after careful thought, reflection and consideration of the fact, we are able to claim 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”, giving us an another opportunity to grow in Christ and exercise His Love by not judging.
Can you imagine a life without the judgment of others and what that would look like?
As brothers and sisters in Christ, let us leave all judging to the ONE who is the true judge. The Lord!
Romans 2:1-3 “… O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth…”
Romans 14:10-13 “But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? …. Therefore, let us not judge one another anymore: but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.”
1st Corinthians 4:3-5 “But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you… In fact, I do not even judge myself... but He who judges me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts…
1st Corinthians 2:15 – “But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.”