Every topic is polarizing in our current culture. I hear my brothers and sisters in Christ judging each other, and it grieves my heart. Maybe it’s more the emotions driving the judgment that concerns me. People are afraid because they feel that Christians are losing ground in our culture, point taken, but God is sovereign what is there to worry about. Some Christians are self-righteous and want to make themselves feel better about their walk with God. Beloved, the only way to feel better about your walk with God is to examine your heart.
As Christians, our obligation to judge is ourselves first. 1 Corinthians 11:31, NKJV: “For if we judged ourselves, we would not be judged.” If we judged our own hearts, we would have less time to concern ourselves with what everyone else is or isn’t doing. The benefit from judging ourselves is two-fold; others won’t judge us (because we are already taking care of our own business), and two, we are starting to become more Christ-like.
Judging ourselves is a precursor to judging others. Jesus teaches, “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? … You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye. Then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:3-5) (NIV). Jesus is pretty clear here, we are not to judge others before we judge ourselves. In other words – as my mother told me, “mind your own business.”
Jesus took His teaching a step further with the woman caught in adultery. Jesus said, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7b) (NIV). He is saying before you judge others examine your own heart and consider your past. Even if you are not sinning at the moment – you have. We all have sinned. But if you have never sinned, then you can throw the first stone. Jesus calls for us to remember our own mistakes and have some compassion.
Ninety-nine present of the time, Jesus spoke to opportunity. He breathed life into people with His words rather than criticizing or judging them. There was only one group of people Jesus had harsh words for, the Pharisees. Why? Their words sucked the life out of people and brought condemnation. Their man-made rules, regulations, and rituals kept people from discovering a relationship with the One who came to fulfill the law they wanted to protect. They put conditions on the unconditional love of Jesus. We have a choice every day when it comes to our words. We can, like Jesus, use words to breathe life into people, or we can use our words to condemn, judge, and suck the life right out of them. Let’s look for opportunities to lay down our opinions, judgment, and desire to be right. Let us be more like Jesus with our words and use them to encourage, build-up, and restore.