These days, it seems like our generation is at a time where everyone is fighting for their point of view. The focus seems to be on “fighting” the person instead of evaluating the argument. So much so that people will end up forgetting what they are fighting for. For example, all around the world we see many politicians fail to recall the very justice that they want to uphold. This reminds us the story of Saint Peter when he was told by Christ at the Last Supper that one of the disciples would betray Him. Right when Peter heard this, he indirectly judged the one who is going to betray Christ saying. “I wouldn’t do that.” He was saying that even if others betray Christ, Peter will not going to betray Him. Judging can be carried out by saying out loud or even by talking to ourselves “how can so and so do this?” and blaming the person instead of our common enemy- the devil. Now when we come to Christianity and Spirituality, many of us who accuse others of a specific sin are also struggling in the same way if we are going to be honest. The difference between them and us is that God’s grace just happened to conceal our mistakes. It may be a little easier to not judge those who are apologetic. It is easier when one admits his/her mistakes. Often we can tolerate the wrongdoing of others if it is any other trespasses except … judging itself. Worthy to note here is speaking the truth and judging of a person is completely different. We can speak the truth out of love and that’s what Christ our master taught us. So what is our response when we encounter someone judging us OR others. In the name of defending the innocent are we going to be contemptuous and judge him/her back? Do we think we will serve justice by judging those who judge others? Judging the judgmental is a very tricky sin that we overlook and should work to get rid of. How can we work on this?
It all starts within
Christ said “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” (Luke 6:45) We can only hear someone judging when they speak judgmental words. Same way we might not say offensive words when we see a judgmental person, but deep down in our heart, we do also judge that person. Then when the devil facilitates the platform to say out loud what was within our heart, we say it out loud to others and this becomes gossiping. Therefore just as we try very hard not to say anything judgmental (if we actually hold on our tongue) we need to work on fighting the thoughts of judging. We need to make every thought captive to the obedient of Christ as Saint Paul mentions in 2nd Cor. 10:5 Therefore when the opportunity presents that seems offensive evaluate how you are going to respond to it in your mind without judging.
Is the journey done yet?
If we are honest with ourselves and reflect on our past, we see that most of the things that we accuse/judge of others are things that we had been struggling with or failing at. It is only when God enables us to reflect, repent, and transform that we changed our view on various sins. Therefore we cannot judge others if it is not their time to see what you see. Maybe these people that you judge will be the ones who will have this revelation sometime in the future. Saint Paul was a persecutor first—but we cannot judge him by his past because his future held something different… giving life and hope to all Christians. In our history, there are times where we made unwise choices; and imagine if people judged us by that but not by our presence maturity. St. Paul himself said it in this way “When I was a child, I talked like a child; I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” 1st Cor 13:11. Even when we are given an opportunity to judge others we cannot judge people until we know the end of their life’s journey. Many people have changed their position in life when they mature. So be patient of the judgmental.
Don’t fail on the same trap.
Just because a certain topic is very dear to our heart or because what we say is right in the eyes of God, doesn’t make our judging of others right. The devil wants us to sin by judging others so he presents an “injustice” on the things that we mostly care about. Therefore we inevitably judge those who don’t have the same mentality or same spiritual journey as ours. A very relatable example is YOTC’s mission. When people start negatively labeling this movement or discouraging the services, how should we respond? You want people to know that what you are saying and doing is righteous? You cannot do that by disparaging attitude towards others or by hatred filled arguments. The only way to make our point and positively influence others is through unconditional love. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35) When we conceive judgment in our hearts, inevitably we give birth to hatred. We can justify this by saying our perspective is right, but we will end up in the same trap of sinning by judging those who judge. “Brothers and sisters do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?” (James 4).