She's clearly THAT kind of homeschooling mom.
Obviously, THOSE children are not being disciplined by their parents.
Only and IDIOT puts that many bumper stickers on their car.
He really should NOT be eating that much food.
How can they call themselves Christians and engage in THAT behavior?
These are the kinds of thoughts that might flash through my mind without warning as I stroll around town, drive the streets, shop at my local stores, or (gulp) while I'm at church. Over the years I have gotten into the habit of evaluating everything I see and making quick judgments. Have you? When the thought is positive, I'll share it, statements like, Look at how beautiful the flowers are in their yard! or Her hair cut is really great! When the thoughts are more like the statements above, I keep them to myself. Most of the time. Though perhaps a knowing glance is exchanged with someone nearby who's thinking the same thing.
Whether negative or positive, for some reason, we decide that it's our place to make judgments about the world around us. Now, God gives us discerning minds so that we can make sound judgments about what may or may not be safe in a given situation, or to distinguish good from evil. But it is too easy (at least for me) to take the blessing of critical thinking, and turn it into a weapon I use to criticize others and build myself up. Are you catching the repetition of this "it's all about me" theme with sin? I mean, seriously, we need to get over ourselves!
Enter, the Gospel. Jesus is there, yet again to rescue us. But not until after He drops these bombs to wake us up in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 7:
Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 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.
3 Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
What makes it so easy to size up our neighbor, friends, family members, or complete strangers, raising the gavel and pronouncing judgment? COMPLETELY ignoring our own giant sin.
It's so very easy to identify another's weakness, isn't it? Yet so very difficult to see our own. And
often most of the time when we're judging others, it has little to do with their sin, and more with our own preferences and opinions. That makes it even worse!
The first two verses really get at my heart. How about yours? For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged. I'm (in my thoughts) hard on people much of the time, not merciful. Yet I would like to be shown mercy. Hey pot, you call the kettle black much?! I don't want to be judged by my measure - it expects far too much perfection from people far too incapable of achieving it - nevertheless, I apply it to my neighbor ... the neighbor I'm called to love.
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I'm going to assume that I am not the only one with a "judging problem" and proceed using the pronoun we. And I'm going to let you in on a little secret: I just found the convicting verses below from Romans 2 by doing a keyword search at biblegateway.com. How's that for profound Biblical scholarship? I'm learning right along with you, good reader!
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?
Dear Father, how often we show You contempt when we proudly judge another. You have redeemed us by your loving-kindness and shown us mercy beyond our comprehension. Jesus' and Paul's words cut us to the heart. Forgive us our trespasses today, especially that of passing judgement on our neighbor. Grow in our hearts a deeper understanding of Your love for us, so we don't need to try and steal affection from the idolatry of self by standing in judgment of others. Help us to trust Jesus for salvation and look to His example for
When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (I Peter 2:23-25)We return to you, Lord, the One who judges justly, praying these things in Jesus' name. Amen.