Judge or Jury
What I’m about to share is not because I’m an expert. As a matter of fact, there is nothing in this article that has anything to do with the merit of being a graduate of a Christian psychology program. The only reason I’m sharing this is due to extremely profound personal experiences that have given me insight and understanding about myself and healing, through the eyes of Jesus.
Do you know why you or other people judge? It comes out of their own insecurities or regrets. A person who judges how other people look, dress, or is critical in any way, has a need to be elevated or felt better about themselves. Here is an example. Perhaps someone comes to work wearing something that comes from decades back? I think, “She needs a makeover!” There is a difference between being critical about a person and being a constructive influence in their life.
There is also the story of the young woman, Sherry, who was stranded when her car broke down far from home. While all her siblings were able to help her in some way, one brother, John, who was furthest away wasn’t able to. He had obligations and his hands were tied. When he finally reached her, Sherry’s sister, Candace said, “I was so glad to hear from the Mechanic and get the things Sherry needed so that she was no longer stranded.” At the moment John heard this, he felt his sister Candace was boasting and so he took offense. He became offended because, in his heart, he felt inadequate about not being able to respond to Sherry’s need earlier. His offense was stirred by feelings of inadequacy.
These are soul issues. They stem from our mind, our free will, and emotions. Examining the root issues of our feelings and actions will help us have greater insight into the conflicts we face. First, we take a look at ourselves.
So now the challenge has been presented. Do you see how and why you judge and others judge?
Five Reasons We Judge
(1) Insecure (2) Jealous (3) Scared, (4) Lonely, (5) a need for change.
When you look deep inside, can you identify with one of those listed above?
Five Things Judging Does: 1) Hurts other people 2) Elevates your own self above others (3) Keeps wrong perspectives 4) Perpetuates negativity in your life (5) Unknowingly, you’re also judging yourself.
HOW TO STOP JUDGING
Stop judging yourself. God sees you through the eyes of Jesus. Confess your weakness and sin and let him cleanse you. Then breathe again. Look for the positive, don’t peg people in one hole. Don’t base your opinions of others on what you have known from their past. Try to see everything with the love of Jesus. Keep in mind that in order to love like Jesus, you have to experience his love for you first. For some who have been habitually critical, this can be a learning curve to change your ways, but you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. (Phil 4:13)
Monitor your thoughts and your heart. In Mark 7:20-22, Jesus said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, SLANDER, pride, foolishness. Perhaps you’ve never thought of judging as a form of slander but it is. We are instructed in scripture to renew our minds. Change your thoughts. Romans 12:2 says, Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.
HOW TO REALLY CHANGE
Philippians 4:8 says, Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Colossians 3:16 tells us, Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. — I believe your answer is not only found in the Word of God, but also through the Word of God dwelling within you.
The bottom line is judging is a form of pride. Refusing to see the errors in your own way, arguing that someone is wrong, or the act of judging others, revealing your own self-righteousness, is an act of pride.
These are strong words, but we only have to realize that we are human. Since the time of the Fall with Adam and Eve, pride is the only obstacle because that is how Lucifer fell. While the devil is the reason for our pride, if we understand our emotions, we can choose to respond in a manner that glorifies God.
How to respond when we are judged.
1) Take a compassionate viewpoint. It’s really hard to do this. The closer the person is to you, the more hurtful it is, and this makes it even more challenging. Realize that those who judge, are hurting and responding from the soul. (mind, will, and emotions) They haven’t tapped into what their own insecurity is, their own pride and so their perception is skewed. Their judgment is a knee-jerk reaction from their soul.
2) You know the truth. There is no one who knows you better than God and you. Together, you can affirm what you know as truth or a need to examine your heart deeper.
3) People can’t make you feel anything. If you are responding with hurt or an offense, then you are accepting the hurt and wicked cycle that judgment offers. There’s no denying that hurtful words hurt, but it’s our choice whether to receive them or not. I’ve been guilty of a quick response to hurtful words. This is not wise. It doesn’t give you a chance to change your attitude and thinking before responding.
4) A Love Response.
What if someone is trying to lovingly correct me? In every case, words of kindness that indicate your value and worth will come before words of correction. Correction feels like you’re being guided and encouraged. Judgment is different because it’s an accusation and usually comes from someone else’s perception or point of view.
Even most recently, hindsight has helped me to realize that when I feel someone is judging me, the best choice of words derives a “Love Response”. I should have said, “I appreciate you but this is not necessarily true. I’m sorry you feel that way, but I’m just working it out between me and God.”
A final word on the most powerful action you can do when you are judged or in conflict with someone. Forgive. It helps you move on, it sets you free and shows the fruit of God’s love instilled in you.