I was in Parramatta one day and walking down the street when I looked up and saw a sign. It was advertising the gymnasium I had walked past, and two words grabbed my attention – “No Judging.” Straight away I got the message. They were telling me it didn’t matter if you were fat, obese or overweight – they will not be judging me if I went in to try and get fit. I thought it was quite a clever advertising ploy. They wouldn’t be asking personal type of questions of disapproval.
No judging. What a relief to be reminded of these two powerful words. How often have you made a judgement call on someone? Or others have judged you. Despite all our efforts, we do judge others, often without even giving it a thought. But it causes problems – We look down on others as if we are so much better, and that creates division between people. Have you seen that for yourself? Think about it for a second: we see someone, and based on their looks or actions, we pass judgment on them. Not a good judgment, either. Usually without even knowing the person. And that’s it — that’s usually the extent of our interaction with that person. We don’t make an effort to get to know the person, or understand them, or see whether our judgment was right or not.
I like what James says in the New Testament. “Don’t say cruel things about others. If you do, or if you condemn others, you are condemning God’s law..” (James 4:11-12). After all, Jesus had said “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind. This is the first and most important commandment. The 2nd most important commandment is ‘Love others as much as you love yourself’.(Matthew 22:34-40). How is it possible to love others if you judge and condemn them? It doesn’t add up. Only God has a right to judge. It’s part of God’s job description. It’s not in your job description to judge other Christians. It’s not your job to judge other people. God has not created you to go around judging everybody you meet. He has not commissioned you to talk to everybody about everybody else. He has not made you to be a busybody.
One of the greatest mistakes all of us have – is to generalize people by just one mistake that they make. If they make a mistake, we tend to slander their whole character. If a guy makes a foolish mistake – we consider him a fool. But this is not necessarily the truth. Maybe he is a good person who has just made one stupid mistake. Maybe he has just slipped, or made a mistake, and fallen in one time of weakness – not one of us is perfect. How often have you heard: “You can’t judge a book by the cover.” The same goes for people. Look beyond the mistake – look at the person’s real character – and you may be surprised what you find. Stop judging others – it’s unchristian – it’s unloving – it’s unjustified.
I am encouraged by the apostle Paul’s word in Romans 14: 12-13: “Each of must give an account to God for what we do. We must stop judging others..”. You are not accountable to me in the ultimate sense of your life. But – remember you are accountable to God. When all is said and done – I am not accountable to you and you are not accountable to me. Both of us are accountable to God who is the King of kings and Lord of lords. He is the ultimate judge. He is the One that all of us will bow our knees before.
God is merciful. He gives forgiveness where there should be condemnation. Shouldn’t we act the same way? Do you remember the story that Jesus told in Matthew chapter eighteen? It goes something like this:
A man owed $50,000 to his boss. His boss was kind enough to forgive him of the debt. The man then went out and found a guy who owed him $5. He strangled the man because he wouldn’t pay up. When the boss heard the news – He went to the man who had owed him $50,000 and said, “Who do you think you are? I forgave you a huge amount. This other fellow only owed you a little bit – yet you would not forgive him. What’s up with that? Is that how you play the game? Don’t give out what you so richly have received? Remember you will be forgiven in the same manner you forgive.”
God has shown us mercy. God has shown us, love. God has shown us forgiveness. How should we treat those who are around us? How should we behave?
I came across an interesting poem called: “The Wrecking Crew.”
I stood on the street of a busy town,
Watching men tearing a building down.
With a ho heave ho and a lusty yell,
They swung a beam, and a side wall fell.
I asked the foreman of the crew,
“Are those men as skilled in all they do?”
“Oh, no, no indeed.” The foreman said.
“That’s just Bob, and that’s just Fred.”
“Just common labourers are all I need.
To tear a tear down a building – is a simple deed.
They can tear it down in a day or two.
What took a skilled man a year to build – new.
No skill is involved – no skill do they need,
You see – tearing things down is a simple deed.”
And then I thought as I went my way.
Just which of these two roles am I trying to play?
Have I walked life’s road with care,
Measuring each deed with a rule and square?
Or am I one of those who roam the town,
Content with the labour of tearing things down?
Are you going around judging others? Far better to start building others up. Help one another in the battlefield of life. All of us are in need of encouragement, not judgement. Stop having a judgemental attitude.