A man walked into a church wearing ragged jeans and a ball cap. The pastor of the congregation approached him and said, “If you don’t take off the ball cap I am going to force you to leave.” Without any hesitation, the man left. He wanted nothing to do with a group of people who would judge him by his appearance. The thing that the pastor could not see from his outward appearance was the man’s heart. He had been contemplating suicide and going to church was his last resort before he took his life that very night.
How many times do you hear people say that they don’t want to go to church because Christians are judgmental hypocrites?
Do you hear people say Christians are always pointing out people’s wrongs? I can personally say, I fall into that category of judging others on many occasions. Whether it is making a sly remark about someone’s appearance or thinking of them badly before even knowing their story. I am just as bad as the pastor who asked the man to leave.
Jesus is a prime example that we are not to be like that pastor. Jesus had a passion for the lost; he welcomed the sinners, tax collectors, prostitutes, lame and homeless. If we are walking in Jesus our heart needs to be centered on loving unbelievers and never judging. For there is one Judge who knows our circumstances and most importantly our heart, James 4:12 “There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you–who are you to judge your neighbor?”
Related Post: Empathy For One Another
The word “judge” stems from the Greek word “krino” which means “condemnation” or “sentencing”. The word ‘krino’ (judge) should not be misinterpreted with the words ‘rebuke’ or ‘admonish’. For when you rebuke or admonish you are correcting people, not condemning them. Our duty as believers is not to judge or condemn fellow believers. Our duty is to help correct them by leading them on a straight path. Galatians 6:1 “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.”
When it comes to unbelievers our role as Christians is slightly different.
For how are we to correct someone who does not live by the same book? We are not to judge or point out unbelievers’ wrongs, but to show them, love, just as Jesus did. Other than loving the Lord your God with all your heart, the second command found in Mark is, “’Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” If we are showing love and not judging it will be evident. Evident to unbelievers and attract them to Jesus. Jesus is love, John 13:35 “By this all people will know that you are my disciples if you have a love for one another.”
Whenever I encounter a person, to keep myself from judging, I run my thoughts and actions through a filter. A filter that questions are I showing patience? Am I acting proud, rude, or self-seeking, nor am I keeping any record of wrong? If I answer no, then I know those ways are not from God. That my flesh is causing me to think and act in a different way.
As Christians, we need to be conscious to watch what we say.
We need to make sure our actions are a direct reflection of God’s love. Our church needs to be a place where the poor, hurting, depressed and the least of us can come to find a loving God. If we live by Ephesians 4:29 “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace. Grace to those who hear,” then our church will become a house of healing that resembles Gods love for all.
Question from Brooke Mahan, the author.
How can you begin to stop judging and start loving instead?