Quick to Judge Others?
Why is forgiving so hard?
We can’t let them off the hook…to do so is to let them get away with it. Somehow this concept of forgiveness - evening the scales - doesn’t quite connect with me and at times, keeps me from wanting to forgive since it is not right to let them off the hook for what they did.
“I know if I persist, it will pay back in dividends, and it always does. What starts to happen is like exercise, the pain goes away. It starts to get easier, and the weight starts to get lighter, and people start to notice a difference in you, and you start to notice a difference in yourself. You find your ability to make decisions is easier; you find you are inspired more often. You find your success increases. You find that your random moments when you’re in the flow are no longer random, and you can control them. Other people notice the difference.”
— Simon Sinek
And now you know the rest of the story...
Let me tell you a story, thanks to author Jack R. Christianson, about a man named Jack who cherished his bird-hunting dog, Cassie. Jack frequently boasted about what a talented dog Cassie was because he was so proud of her. Jack took Cassie to his hunting club and asked several buddies to come see Cassie so he could demonstrate her amazing skills. Jack let Cassie out to play after getting to the club while he went inside to sign in.
When it was time to start, Jack was eager to demonstrate Cassie's incredible abilities. Cassie, though, was acting oddly. She wouldn't comply with any of Jack's orders even though she typically did it voluntarily. She only wanted to stick by his side.
As a result of his frustration, embarrassment, and anger with Cassie, Jack immediately urged that they leave.
Jack was further irritated that Cassie refused to jump into the truck's bed, so he grabbed her up and threw her into the kennel. All the way home, he was enraged as those around him made fun of his dog's antics. She had had excellent training, and in the past, serving and appeasing him had been her only motivation.
As usual, Jack started checking Cassie for bumps, ticks, and injuries as soon as he got home. He placed his hand on her chest and felt something wet before discovering that his hand was stained with blood. Cassie had a large, wide cut that went all the way to her chest bone, which shocked and horrified him. On her front right, he discovered another wound was right down to the bone.
Jack sobbed as he held Cassie in his arms. He was very ashamed of his poor judgment and treatment of her. At the hunting club, Cassie had been acting differently than she usually did because she was hurt. Her agony, her sorrow, her wounds had affected her behavior. It had nothing to do with a lack of love or a lack of desire to obey.
How many wounded people have you met and didn’t know yet still judged? How frequently do we cast judgment on others based on their outer behavior and actions—or lack thereof—when, if we truly knew, we would behave with compassion and a desire to alleviate the situation rather than contributing to it?
Not all injuries and handicaps are visible, many are emotional, experiential, and spiritual.
Regarding judging others, God says, “I saw that. I will deal with them. That’s not your job.”
Because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment. (James 2:13)
Even Jesus was not judging, knowing that judgment is the Father’s job.
As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. (John 12:47)
Simply put, God is the ultimate judge and will, on His terms, provide justice and judgment. The sooner we take this responsibility off us, the sooner we will find true love, compassion, and the blessings that God has for us.
Christians are told to lovingly judge Christians. But in most situations, we must be very slow to judge, exercising great care and restraint. Our sinful flesh has a hair trigger to judge others. We must have a healthy suspicion of our own pride, and keep Jesus’s words ringing in our ears: “Judge not, that you be not judged” (Matt 7:1)
This is especially important because many situations we face are not clear-cut. Often the line between judging hidden heart purposes and calling out sin looks ambiguous. And when it is, it is best to be slow to judge.
But let us not judge other Christians’ hidden purposes of the heart as wrong, simply if they disagree with us or our beliefs. We may discuss and persuade, but we may not judge. God will judge. It is for Him alone to bring to light what is now hidden and to commend or rebuke.
Let us “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, [bear] with one another in love” (Eph 4:2)
So, when it comes to justice, who is the judge?
So, for today, can we all go through a bit of judgment detox?
Maybe there is not a perfectly clear line between when to judge and when not to. Maybe that line is a bit fuzzy. But when you feel yourself judging others, proceed slowly and cautiously because you are in a danger zone. For now, simply having a mental red flag go up would be fantastic!
I think if you can grab just this concept of a “red flag” to be aware, that alone will make you think: who should be the judge and who should administer the justice? Me or God?
Just like Jack and his dog Cassie, we often don’t know what pain, shame, and blame that person you are judging is going through at the time.
Judgment detox–it will improve all your relationships. Leaving God to be the judge and provide justice, not you, will make Him happy as well.