Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned. Luke 6:37 NAS
Why do we judge? What are the standards we use? It is so interesting that even though we would not want to be treated in like manner, we can easily find ourselves limiting our opinion of someone to a first impression without going any deeper to discover who they really are. God our Father made each one of us with unique personalities and gifts that can only be discovered through time and relationships. But there are occasions when one might see a person for only a moment in the mall or the grocery store, and determine who and what they are. Jesus, the Author of grace and mercy, stands as a beautiful example of seeing people for what they can be, and not who they appear to be.
Need some examples?
Moses was known by some as a murderer. God saw him as a strong leader and a deliverer of justice to God’s chosen people.
Jonah was considered an albatross on a boat. God saw him as the one to preach the greatest series of evangelistic sermons ever known, resulting in 600,000 conversions.
David was a conspirator, an adulterer and one guilty of premeditated murder. God called him, “A man after His (God’s) own heart.” (Acts 13:22)
Zacchaeus was despised as a thief, to be ignored and shunned at every opportunity. Jesus said, “I am going to your house today.” (Luke 19:5)
The woman at the well drew water at noon for she was so despised by the Jews as a Samaritan that she was forbidden to be at the well with them. Yet after spending time with Jesus, she became a witness for Christ. (John 4:39)
The Bible is replete with cautions regarding judging another person. How can I stand in judgment of another when I know how far short I fall to God’s righteous standards? My grandmother used to have a saying that went like this… ”If all our faults were hung on a line, you’d take yours and I’d take mine!” How true. Jesus compared our judgmental attitudes as having a log in our own eye while we focused on the speck in someone else’s eye. (Matthew 7:2-4)
The bottom line… judging is left to God and we need to pray to keep ourselves free from our judgmental attitudes. Aren’t we so thankful that God was able to see beyond our sin to realize the possibilities in us? One might question, if people down here judge me so harshly, how much more am I guilty before a Holy God? Take heart. It is just the opposite. You see, God is always able to give grace when we humans cannot. You see, God invented it!
What about you? Are you quick to judge others? Take a moment to ask God to help you see others as He sees them. Offer grace and mercy and take time to pray for the people you meet. Or if you already have a long established bias toward a person or people, repent of that sin and choose to love.
Dear Gracious Father, we are so quick to judge. Perhaps because it is easier to look at other’s faults than it is to honestly look at our own. Help us to set a standard of love, grace, mercy and forgiveness. Help us to set our minds on things above and to be encouragers. Deliver us from petty gossip and from choosing friends who promote gossip and innuendos. Grant us the power to see possibilities in others and work to help them along their way. Help us to realize the danger in judging others according to Your Word and lead us in the path of righteousness. Amen.