“Do not judge, or you too will be judged” (Matthew 7:1 NIV).
Do you know why Jesus commands us not to judge? Because it HURTS.
Judgment is not fun, and feeling someone’s criticism, condemnation, or careless words can break our hearts and possibly falter our faith. Because judgment goes to the core of who we are – our identity, our ideals, and our integrity – and proclaims we have failed. And who likes to feel like a failure?
Don’t get me wrong. We all make mistakes, and hopefully we all learn and grow from them. They are necessary to help us see when we have done, thought, or gone wrong. They should help us do better, speak kinder, and love easier. We should not feel like a failure in these instances – because grace will come in and pick us up and point us in the right direction.
What I am talking about is …
Feeling the weight of someone’s (harsh) opinion pushing you down.
Battling the emotions of someone’s (careless) words defining your character.
Walking through people’s (uninformed) assumptions about your motives.
To be assigned value possibly contrary to your character and core.
To be pronounced not good (enough), possibly without insight into your motives and methods.
To be critiqued and found guilty, possible based on inconclusive evidence.
To be criticized as wrong, possibly based on impossible or unchecked standards.
To be judged. When you feel its weight – when your character is questioned and your integrity is challenged – it can break your heart.
Like it broke mine yesterday. When I found out my subordinate went to the owner because she was concerned I was acting irresponsibly over payroll. No, she never came and asked me questions after our initial tutorial session. No, she never voiced anything to me. Instead, she processed and came to the conclusion that I was cheating our techs – for no good reason.
And my heart broke when I was asked about it. My eyes watered at having my integrity so easily challenged. My temper flared at being so misunderstood – and then reported as unethical. And my office door slammed shut as the emotions wildly bounced around my brain.
I was not OK. Today, I am still struggling.
Being judged is hard. It makes you question everything you think to be true.
And then as I wallow, God taps me gently on the broken and hurting spots. And He lovingly whispers, “So now that you feel the sting, what will you do to deal with how YOU are judging others.” OUCH!
So now I have two issues to deal with – feeling judged and being judged. Where in the world do I start?
There are a few key reasons I need to start with my own judgmental heart.
- We are not the one true Judge
- Psalm 50:6 – Let the heavens declare His righteousness, For God Himself isJudge. Selah
- Isaiah 33:22 – For the Lordis our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; it is he who will save us.
- 2 Timothy 4:1 – In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead,and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge
- 2 Timothy 4:8 – Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
- Hebrews 12:23 – to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,
- We do not have a good perspective
- Isaiah 11:3 – His delight is in the fear of the Lord, And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, Nor decide by the hearing of His ears
- John 7:24 – Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.
- John 8:15 – You judge by human standards …
- Hebrews 4:12 – For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
- We are really no better at heart
- Ezekiel 16:52 – You who judged your sisters, bear your own shame also, because the sins which you committed were more abominable than theirs; they are more righteous than you. Yes, be disgraced also, and bear your own shame, because you justified your sisters.
- Micah 7:3 – That they may successfully do evil with both hands— The prince asks for gifts,The judge seeks a bribe, And the great man utters his evil desire; So they scheme together.
- Matthew 7:3-4 – 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye?
- Acts 23:3 – Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! For you sit to judgeme according to the law, and do you command me to be struck contrary to the law?”
- Romans 2:1 – You, therefore, have no excuse,you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.
- Romans 3:23 – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
- It will come back to us
- Matthew 7:1 – Do not judge, or you too will be judged
- Matthew 7:2 – For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
- Luke 6:38 – Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
- Galatians 6:7 – Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap
Then I work on forgiveness. Because it is the key to life – “14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15). And I realize that if I cannot look at her next week and find grace, I am lost. I close the door on God being able to radically shower grace on me.
I have to work through the pain and betrayal … and allow peace to overwrite them. I have to let go of the anger and frustration … and allow forgiveness to redefine them.
Today, I am not there. Grace is still fighting the good fight to reclaim my heart for Him. So what hope do I have?
Psalm 23 – 1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
He is with me.
He is comforting me.
He is pouring out His goodness on me.
He is giving me an abundance of peace and rest to calm me down.
He is loving me back to wholeness.
So thank You loving Father that this one episode will NOT define or destroy me. Thank You gracious Father for Your goodness at work. I know I WILL get through this – and then past it. And I will be stronger, ready to the next battle. Thank You for Your hand on me every step of my life!
Marie Fremin. 2/24/18