How To Judge Without Being Judgey
We’ve spent the last few weeks looking at reasons we shouldn’t be judgey. We’re not smart enough, holy enough or loving enough to judge others. Only God knows the whole story, only God hasn’t made any bad decisions of His own and only God can love unconditionally. But there are times in our lives when we do have to make a judgment call so how do we know when and where and how do we make the right one? We are commanded by scripture to judge certain things but not to judge the world by Christian Standards.
So what ARE we called to judge?
We should judge doctrine. “I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.” Romans 15:17
We should judge preachers and teachers. “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them.” Matthew 7:15-16.
We should judge in matters of church and family discipline. “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:1-2. The Law of Christ is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself. It is love that should compel you to judge a brother. Part of being in a loving family means that from time to time we must correct and judge one another.
So how do we judge without being judgey?
We stand together in the light.
Proper judgment must flow not from the false separation of one behind the interrogator’s light but from the reality and humility of standing under the common light of God.
We don’t throw the sinner out with the bathwater. Proper judgment does not pronounce ultimate condemnation of a person, but rather brings clarity to the choices at hand.
We find common ground. Proper judgment is that which seeks to serve what another has professed to desire. For example, reminding a friend that continuing a certain behavior might threaten something that is important to them.
We pick our battles. Proper judgment is not jumping down someone’s throat because they might be fine with doing things we think are wrong. It is wrong to force someone to do something they think is wrong but it is equally destructive to berate another person who has freedom to do some things we may choose not to do. “The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” Romans 14:3-4.
What if we spent less energy judging the world and fighting silly battles and got more concerned with cleaning up our own act?
We should judge one another in important matters as part of a loving family of faith correcting one another. Through it all we must stand together, not condemn each other, find common ground and pick our battles carefully. Because in the end, God is the one who makes us stand, and we hold each other up as well.
We can judge without being judgey. Do it in love.
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