The right kind of judging: Part 1 - Hope 103.2

The right kind of judging: Part 1

Morning Devotions is for those curious about the Christian faith and who want to explore Christian issues that relate to their daily life.

By Chris WittsFriday 26 Jul 2013Morning Devotions with Chris WittsUncategorizedReading Time: 0 minutes


It was Mother Teresa who once said “if you judge people,you have no time to lovethem”. It’s worth thinking about .. And isn’t it true that It is easier for us to be critical of others than change something in ourselves? Lucy – from the cartoon strip Peanuts  -sums this up pretty well. She has been known to be quick to find a fault or two in others. Well,one day Linus asks her,”Why are you always so anxious to criticize me?”Lucy says”I just have a knack for seeing other people’s faults.”So Linus then asks,”Well,what about your own faults?”And she replies  “I just have a knack for overlooking them”.I don’t think many of us like being judged by another person .. The last word goes to motivational speaker & author  Dr Wayne Dyer who once said  “When you judge another,you do not define them. You define yourself.”We really do say far more about ourselves when we judge others: how we feel inside of us,our level of confidence,self esteem and above all,our capacity to love.

No one likes to be judged. We are all familiar with judgmental people and my guess is we try to keep clear of them. But how often have you judged somebody else? We are familiar with our own failings in judging people unfairly and harshly. Psychologists call this “projecting”. That means you blame others for faults you see in yourself. It’s the classic cover-up. We tend to look at people and circumstances from our brokenness and our biases,our prejudices and our pain,from what we know or think we know. 

People respond to warmth,empathy,reinforcement,value and appreciation,not to judgement of their actions. Yet,I suggest only love makes the greatest difference to someone,and has the power to affect real change. We have judged others unfairly too! We have been judged unfairly also! When we know that we have been judged unfairly,it hurts and we are offended. Our response to our hurts is not unexpected. We may respond by saying unkind words,complaining,or demeaning the person to others. We shouldn’tjudgea book by it’s cover. We can’t see the whole picture. We don’t know a person’s strengths and weaknesses. We don’t know what they’ve gone through. They may have survived against great odds .. They might have come a long way already.

I like the story of a young and very successful businessman who one day was driving his brand spanking new black jaguar down the street. Suddenly -Bang! A brick hits  his car! The brakes screech and gears  thrown in reverse! Tires squeal! Brakes screech! The door flies open and the young driver  jumps out extremely angry and grabs the kid standing close by who had thrown the brick. He throws him against the car and abuses him. “How dare you damage my car. Wait till I’m finished with you”. The kid mumbles between sobs,”I’m sorry,I didn’t know what else to do. It’s my brother,his wheelchair rolled off of the curb and he fell out. NO one would stop. I didn’t know what else to do He is hurt and he is too heavy for me. Would youhelp get him in back in his wheel chair?.”

Sometimes we need a brick to help us stop long enough and see what is going on around us. The Bible says in John 7.24  “Stop judging by mere appearances,and make a right judgment.” Elsewhere in the Bible it says,for example in Matthew 7:1 “Do not judge,or you will be judged”. And the apostle Paul says in Romans 2:1 “.Some of you accuse others of doing wrong. But there is no excuse for what you do. When you judge others,you condemn yourselves,because you are guilty of doing the same thing”.

Jesus had a bit to say in Matthew 7.. “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? How can you say to your brother ..Let me take the speck out of your eye,when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?”We need sometimes to take an inventory of ourselves and ask questions like .. what do I need to do to change? If someone criticises me,is there some truth I need to heed? Do I ask God to take away the feelings of anger and resentment? Jesus teaches us to examine our own conduct and our own lives instead of passing judgment onto others. But we’re so busy looking over the fence at what everyone else is doing,  we don’t have time to notice our own faults. I know it’s easy to look at the way someone else does things,and pass judgment. But really now,is their way wrong just because it is different then your way? And even if it is wrong,who are we to make such a judgement ?

The story is told of a man called Mr. Jones who picked up the wrong umbrella in a hotel lobby and was about to walk out when the rightful owner called attention to his mistake. Embarrassed,he offered his apologies. Finding his own,he went on his way.  The incident,however,reminded him that he had promised to buy both his wife and daughter an umbrella. To his delight he found that a local store nearby had them on sale,so he bought two. Just as he was getting into his car with his unwrapped purchases,he saw the man he had encountered earlier. He was eyeing him suspiciously. Seeing the three umbrellas hooked over his arm,the stranger exclaimed sarcastically,”I see you had a good day after all!” Although Mr. Jones blushed,he was not guilty of any wrongdoing. He hadn’t stolen the umbrellas even though he was being judged. The point is that things are not always what they appear to be on the surface. So we have to be very careful in our judgments.

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