Do not judge me. Who are you to judge me? Walk a mile in my shoes before you judge me.
All very common today on social media platforms. Why? We all disagree with each other, so we end up telling others what to do, and then we get upset that someone has judged us. I see it every day. The Bible seems a bit contradictory on the subject, as it tells us to correct others, and it tells us not to judge. Or does it?
Now I have written about this in the past in my post entitled ‘Judgement Day of Golf‘, so you can take a look there for all the scriptures telling us that we should judge Christians. I am not going to go through all of that again, but I want to show a practical difference between the types of actions that we have lumped into one word. Judging. The first ‘judging’ is more ‘correcting actions’ and the second ‘judging’ is ‘condemning people’. Just to make it clear, we are called to do the first to fellow Christians. We are not called to do the second – that is the devil’s job and he doesn’t need any help.
Here is a true – yet very silly – story, but it shows the difference between the two quite clearly.
A few weeks ago, I was at a lifegroup evening, and it came time to leave. I grabbed the car seat containing our sleeping baby, and headed out of the door. One of the other members of the lifegroup was driving down the road, having just left, and saw me coming out of the door. He hooted (honked his horn for my American friends) to say goodbye as he drove past. Now this is one of my pet hates. We always have people hooting to say goodbye where we live, and it wakes us and the baby up. So some thoughts immediately came into my head, and most of them were not pretty. ‘How dare he be so inconsiderate? What about the neighbours? He may wake the baby, how can someone be so selfish?’ I then got into my car and thought about it. He is not selfish or inconsiderate. I know him, and he is kind and very accepting of others. So what I thought about him was not true. However, his actions may have been wrong. So how was this wrong, and what should I have done?
I was not dealing with the actions in love. I was condemning the person. I was labelling him as selfish and inconsiderate, because I associated his actions with those traits. That was not the case. I had judged his assumed motives (which I got wrong), not his actions. Had I calmly spoken to him the next time, and explained how his actions could inconvenience others, that would have been fine. That is what we should be doing. Showing people how their actions could cause harm to themselves or others, and suggesting some changes. Yes, we often use scripture for this, because we (should) all trust God and what He has said. This is done in love, because we want what is best for others. All I did was condemn. Labelling the person as things which he is not, because that was my logical conclusion for his actions. This is condemning. This is what the devil is SO good at. ‘How can you be a child of God, you still sin?’ Sound familiar? I’m not sure about you, but I’d rather not do the devil’s work.
The other side of the coin is being on the receiving end of the correction. If someone comes to you in love, to try and address some of your actions, how do you respond? Do you use one of the cliché comments at the start of this post? If so, maybe you want to rethink that. Do you not want to be the best that you can be? That overwhelming feeling to jump to your defence, could just be pride. Have you ever thought about that?
I hope that this helps you next time you need to judge, or you are judged.
Until the next post.