Don’t Judge!

Judge

“Refuse to be a critic full of bias towards others, and judgment will not be passed on you. For you’ll be judged by the same standard that you’ve used to judge others. The measurement you use on them will be used on you” (Matt. 7:1-2, tPt).

Confession time. I’m going to be honest with you. My heart has been known, on occasion, to come up with some pretty unkind sentiments towards certain individuals. You know those moments when something about a person’s general behavior or attributes triggers a negative response in your emotions? Can you relate? I imagine that you can. We came up with a name for this to package it as something acceptable. We call these our “pet peeves.”

In my case, maybe it’s a person whom I perceive to be acting pretentiously. Or it could be a Facebook photo where someone who should know better is showing too much skin (in my not-so-humble opinion). Or it’s an insecure soul who is clearly throwing his or herself out there in unhealthy ways, clamoring for attention. When I see these things, instead of compassion, I sometimes feel pricked at, bothered.

Thankfully, this is not the overriding modus operandi of my inner life. Holy Spirit has been diligently at work inside of me for a long time now. I am profoundly grateful to Him for all the tremendous change He has effected within my core over the years. He has made me immeasurably more gracious in my deep heart attitudes, both towards myself and towards others, than I used to be.

And yet, once in a while, those moments still pop up. I don’t like the ugly feeling that invades my emotions when they do. Since I don’t want it hanging around in my inner space, I quickly ask for Holy Spirit’s help.

That’s when His gentle voice simply says to my spirit, “Receive My compassion.” As He imparts His dunamis* to me, I am empowered to perceive the person through new lenses. My heart is softened. Suddenly, I see them as a struggling individual who needs grace. Holy Spirit replaces my annoyance with genuine love and patience.

Our verse for today says “Refuse to be a critic.” Or, in the NIV, “Do not judge.” Notice that it doesn’t say, “Do not judge your fellow Christians, but go ahead and judge those offensive revilers who haven’t yet had the sense to become believers.” Nope. Just flat out, plain and simple, “Do not judge.” Anyone. At any time. Period.

What comes into our hearts when we start to think about someone on the opposite side of the political spectrum? Someone living in blatant sin? Or even someone committing as trivial a crime as wearing a really tasteless outfit that day (in our lofty estimation)? Or perhaps a getup tight enough to unbecomingly reveal a “less than perfect” figure?

Jesus doesn’t want any lingering negative sentiment about anyone to remain in the secret places of our soul. Here is His heart on the matter: “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it” (John 3:17, TLB). He didn’t put us here to condemn it either, but to be, in the midst of it, His compassionate ambassadors, His agents of redemption.

If you are like me and need divine intervention in order to step up into such an extraordinary mandate, Holy Spirit is eager to provide it. If we ask Him to gently nudge us on the occasions that judgement towards our fellow humans creeps into our hearts, He will. And once He nudges, here is a life-changing prayer to pray in response:

“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow” (Ps. 51:7, NKJV).

Truth be told, we need Holy Spirit to cleanse us like this continually. Just as our kidneys unceasingly filter toxins out of our blood stream, we need Him to continuously purify the flow of our thoughts and emotions with His precious blood. He will do this for us. As soon as we pray, He will answer. He will begin washing the unkindness out of our soul and replacing it with His beautiful love.

He’s ready right now to start. Why wait another minute? Let’s ask Him!

“Create in me a clean heart, O God…” (v. 10a).

********************************************

In this world full of quick judgmentalism towards others, how do we set the example? Will keeping our own hearts clean make a significant difference?

*Greek for “power,” in verses like Eph. 3:20

 

21 thoughts on “Don’t Judge!

  1. So good. Yes, LORD, continually cleanse me of all judgment, humbling me to see my own need for Your grace.

    Interesting you spoke of people throwing themselves out there, clamoring for attention. I have seen myself in that place and have lifted it up to Jesus and He’s been teaching me to self-soothe, by helping me to imagine me being held and rocked in His arms as a baby. It slows me down to receive what I need from Him and not the attention and approval of man.

    Not so long before my Mama died, she told me that as a baby, there was a phase I cried and cried at night. She had three kids under 4 years of age: me being the youngest and we now know one of my brothers (one of those 2 older than me) had autism too, which made life really hard for my Mum. She told me we lived in a really long house, so they decided to put me in the room at the end of the corridor. Mum said she never knew if I just stopped crying or if I cried myself to sleep every night. As a Mama, I now know that place of exhaustion and desperation and have so much empathy for that decision, but I now also have so much more empathy for the healing process God is taking me through and seeing just how far I have come and how HE is becoming my Rock – as He has stripped away my false props.

    Thankful for your grace also in this Jennifer, as I have seen God keep firm and healthy boundaries in place in our communication also and I am so very thankful to Him for that.

    Now, God is likewise, teaching me to lay down firm boundaries that compel others around me to seek Him as their Rock and NOT me! And that’s showing me how much better He knows these people AND me – that it’s HIM we need first and foremost and not each other – and that being there for each other can only come in a healthy way when GOD is the One we go to first.

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    1. He is such a wise Counselor in all things! It really is my great honor to have been given a place in your journey with Him, Anna. I say that with all my heart! And I thank you, too, for each treasure you have shared from your heart. The contents of your soul are so important to Jesus, so I recognize what a privilege this is!

      May the Father continue to hold you close in His everlasting arms, pouring in His healing love.

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  2. And I wanted to add that that hunger and thirst for approval wasn’t uncovered until Jesus brought me home as His lost sheep. Before then, I didn’t feel that hunger and thirst to be loved, as I had learnt to numb it in doing/serving/keeping busy/never stopping. So, it has been deeply humbling to be confronted with that neediness – I felt so ugly (like you described that looking down upon others in that place: I was doing that but with myself). I was so ashamed of that but didn’t know how to stop being that “suck it upper” person either, until God began to command me to separate from particular people and places – piece by piece uncovering my hunger and thirst for His touch and healing- and He would lead me away to rest at His feet – again and again and again – where those that surrounded me were only those with very healthy boundaries in place for themselves and others – who encouraged me to set healthy boundaries also and not to accept harmful behavior in “grace” but to speak the truth in love and shake off the dust upon leaving when the peace God was offering through me was not accepted.

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  3. Good post. I find I am adept at taking other people’s inventory. Being critical —having a critical eye—has helped me throughout my career. However, I’ve also had to learn to focus on fixing me before plucking at the stye in another’s eye. Happy blogging!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know the Lord had you share this insightful comment because just the day before reading it, He had me meditating on that Scripture about the log in our own eye. So I know He is bringing it back up for an important reason, and I thank you!

      My oldest daughter has a strong gift of discernment, “taking other people’s inventory” is a good way to put it. She immediately picks up on so many things about those she is around, it’s remarkable to me. The Lord has been teaching her to combine this gift with His compassion for them and prayer for what their particular vulnerabilities are.

      What a journey He has us all on!

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    1. I’m with you, my sister! Holy Spirit has been convicting my heart just this week to allow Him to keep purifying my heart towards those around me, to perceive their imperfections through His eyes of pure love more and more. Father, do Your beautiful work in our hearts!

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  4. I fully agree, not being judgmental is a very difficult task, especially on Lexington, KY, roads! 😄
    Seriously, I do have to continually work on controlling judgmentalism toward other drivers, and today’s blog helps.
    However, did you know that the “judge not” passage in Matthew 7:1 is THE best known and most quoted Scripture in the world!?
    However, very few quoting it have ever read to verse 6 where Jesus said, “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs…” Usually, it is quoted to stop someone from suggesting godliness is a better lifestyle than the world’s system.
    The key is in verse 2: “… with the measure you use it will be measured to you.”
    So we SHOULD judge, but with righteous and loving judgement, just as Jesus judges us, remembering that the system of judgment we use on others will be used on us!
    Of course, we must be careful not to use verse 6 as an excuse for yelling at another driver, “WHERE did YOU learn to drive? The dog park!?” 😉
    ❤️& 🙏, c.a.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Chuckling gratefully at this. Certainly the road/traffic is one of the best places for the Lord to show us what’s really in our hearts hehe. I know that’s sure been true for me! I am so grateful that HIs mercy triumphs over judgement and that He works His mercy deeper and deeper into our hearts and character as we surrender to His process of making us more like Him.

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  5. Thoughtful post. I pray I am still learning the lesson. Isn’t it hard to discern how to behave when the very society we live in has very unbiblical standards and everything held dear in your own personal life and relationship to Christ is not only devalued but often slandered and misrepresented in comedy and films etc.
    God is the ultimate Judge for eternity and we must warn and turn folk to repentance.
    How we do it with loving warning can be seen as JUDGING. Love and prayer must be our answer. God please give us Your Grace and Wisdom A-men.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really can be a tricky line to walk, I agree, dear sister! “Speaking the truth in love…” So many either lose the “truth” part, or lose the “love” part. If we want to find the right way in each individual circumstance that presents itself, leaning in completely to His Holy Spirit to lead is so essential!

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  6. Amen! There are times when I stumble in this regard . . . more with silent words than more outward actions. Thank you Jennifer for being honest with this discussion. As Christians, we should strive to be better in this regard.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He knows our inmost thoughts, doesn’t he my brother? May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer! Oh to be more and more like Jesus! I so appreciate your thoughtful comment, Richard, thank you 🙂

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