Judgment: One of My Favorite Pasttimes

Besides watching college football, one of my other passions is judging others. Unlike football, I can do this one all year long. Chances are, if you’ve ever encountered me, I’ve judged you for one thing or another. It’s definitely not something I’m proud, and I was reminded freshly of it this week upon discussing Jesus’ words in the sermon on the mount from Luke 6:37-38 about judging others:

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

Boy, there’s alot of questions that come out of that passage: Is our attitude toward others linked to God’s attitude toward us? Can we really be condemned based on whether or not we condemn another? And what’s this thing about a measuring spoon?

But the thing I walked away from this passage thinking about is how would God have me react to those countless people every day that I judge. I think that’s a better use of this moment rather than trying to figure out what the difference is between judging others and standing up for what’s right (which I know is a fine line to walk.) So I came to this conclusion: What if instead of reacting with anger and condemnation when someone upsets, wrongs, or rubs me the wrong way, what if I reacted with a question?

Everybody’s got a story. Everybody has a reason that makes them the way they are, even if that way is disagreeable in my opinion. So what if instead of judging, I took the time to actually sit down and get to know that person? What if I asked them questions about who they are and where they came from? Of course, this would violate another one of my favorite pasttimes which is holding people at an arm’s distance.

Maybe the cure to my judgment is linked to my relational laziness. If I weren’t so relationally lazy, if I actually got to know and understand others, then I think I would probably judge others much less. I tend to think it’s harder judge someone you really know.

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  • Rebby says:

    What’s funny about your post is that as I started to read it, I thought, “I should send this to so-and-so because he could really benefit from this reminder…” Of course, right after that I thought, “I should really write this down, because I could really benefit from this reminder…”

    In the great words of Val Kilmer in one of the greatest western of all time (Tombstone), “It seems my hypocrisy knows no bounds.”

  • chadjordan says:

    I do not know you, but anyone that can work a Tombstone reference into a Michael Kelley comment wins major points in my book. Oh, and as for the judging thing, yeah its bad. I like to say “I’m people watching.” But in all honesty, I am simply judging them on different levels. I wonder how else we disguise “judging”?

  • Dawn says:

    I have no idea how I found your blog, but I needed to read your words today. I find that once I know someone’s story or their background, I am much more merciful to them. Wish I were merciful by nature. Wouldn’t that be nice.

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