By Allen White
Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Matthew 7:1-2
If we’re honest, we have to admit that we’re not very fair judges. We judge others in terms of how a change in their attitude or behavior would make our lives better. We tend to compare other’s weaknesses to our strengths. We have immeasurable compassion for ourselves and very little patience with everybody else. Maybe this is just me – please don’t judge.
But, you and I are not equipped to judge. We don’t have enough information. Only God knows everything (Matthew 10:29-30). Only God knows the thoughts and motives of someone’s heart (Psalm 139:1-2). It’s impossible for us to judge another’s motives. We don’t know them well enough, even if we’re related to them.
How do we want to be judged? We want the person judging us to give us the benefit of the doubt. We want the judge to like us, and to take the good with the bad. We want to be viewed in terms of our potential and not just our past performance. We want them to see us as a work in progress rather than a done deal.
Years ago, I knew an older couple who had served for decades in ministry. If someone began to criticize another, they would always insert into the conversation, “Well, there’s a lot of good there.” That pretty much stopped the criticism. Everyone at the table knew that this couples’ words were true. After all, even a broken clock is right twice a day.
How would you want to be judged? We would rather have a lenient judge than a strict one. We’d prefer someone generous over someone harsh.
Think about it this way – when someone we like messes up, what is our attitude toward him? “Boy, he messed up, but you know, everybody makes mistakes. But, by the grace of God go I…”
Now, turn that scenario around, someone we don’t like messes up. “That guy, boy he can never get it right. He wouldn’t know the right thing to do if it hit him in the head.” Now, the question is how do we want others to think about us?
If we cut others off at the knees, then chances are we will get the same treatment in return. They might take the high road and be more gracious, but we wouldn’t be surprised if someone we treated harshly treated us the same way.
We could all benefit from being more generous with each other. As the recipients of God’s grace, we have the joy and the responsibility of offering God’s grace to others (1 Peter 4:10). When that’s hard to do, we have to remember that it’s God’s grace and not ours.
Who do you find yourself judging lately? You might not call it judging. But, who do you truly believe couldn’t do any better if they tried (or doesn’t seem to try)? Who is consistently letting you down? Chances are that you’re judging them.
The solution is to pray for your attitude and their success. It’s the generous thing to do.
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