At some point in my existence as a “self-appointed judge and jury,” I started to recognize that my judgments revealed more about “me” than the person I was criticizing. Though it was hard to admit (and a difficult journey), acknowledging my judgmental tendencies taught me about:
- my various layers of insecurities
- how deeply my personal fears were rooted
- the negative effects my thoughts were having on my spirit
Fear and Insecurity
Though I was completely unaware of it, much of what I saw in other people reflected my own self-judgments, insecurities, and fears.
Because it can be uncomfortable to admit certain things we are feeling and experiencing within, we focus on (and identify) those traits or faults in someone else.
Once I realized what I was doing, I was able to take a much closer look at myself.
“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?Matthew 7:3
Personal fears surrounding my own perceived lack of acceptance and approval often fueled my “ability” to see those issues in others.
I was especially concerned for people who, in my opinion, relied on the admiration of others or who needed external validation.
The reality is that we all want to feel seen, heard, and understood— those are very normal parts of our human nature—and healthy relationships with others and God.
The true danger lies in losing sight of ourselves in order to fit in, or appeal to what someone else wants.
1Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. 2As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.1 Peter 4:1
Looking back, my judgments were deeply rooted in my own needs and certainly not out of sincere concern for anyone else.
As a victim of childhood bullying, I was insecure about a laundry list of things…
- the way I looked
- how I was perceived
- my style of dress
- my achievements
Sadly, I spent way too much time judging others to recognize my own struggles. During a conversation with another judgmental person, I finally understood what I must sound like to other people.
That moment was eye opening and transformational—other people were NONE OF MY BUSINESS!
What IS My Business?
Prayer…it is as simple as that.
My job as a Christian is to pray and intercede—not to judge, belittle, or put myself on a pedestal.
If something is important enough for me to talk about, it is important enough for me to pray about.
That new mindset was a game changer. From that perspective, I was more empathetic and compassionate. Instead of interpreting people through a lens of negativity, I began to see them in a way that compelled me to want the best for them.
The Problem with Personal Judgments
When we are judging, we’re too busy finding fault with someone to love them the way we are called to do.
Judging relies on interpretations produced by our flesh. It is devoid of love and filled with comparison. It contributes to our pride and erodes our compassion. When we make a habit out of being judgmental, we are doing spiritual damage that is hard to overcome.
We fail to realize that our standards are nothing to measure anyone by.
What we see on the outside, gives us no true insight into the condition of their heart, spirit, or the plans that God has for them—on their personal walk with Him.
The only real thing that judgment does is takes us further away from our own path to Christ. It removes us from the feet of Jesus and places us on our very own throne.
11 Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.James 4:11-12
Before the Judgements Start
Before our judgments take on a life of their own, there are a few questions we can ask ourselves ahead of time. Taking this time to pause helps us to become more mindful—and learn to take our thoughts captive.
- Where (in my spirit) is this coming from?
- Why do I feel spiritually qualified to judge this person?
- How can I pray for them?
- What needs am I seeing in them?
- What is my judgment revealing about my own heart?