Because You Want To
Since when did you think that sticking your nose into other people’s business was your job in life? Where, in the Bible, do you find that you are called, gifted and ordained to be judge and jury? Presiding over and above the actions and decisions of everyone else in the world?
You know who you are. You who can’t seem to stop judging other people based on their life decisions, skin color, body piercings, accent or nationality. You who are filled with a burning desire to judge everyone else who doesn’t think like you, act like you, talk like you or vote like you. You who use words like “those people” or “people like them”, to describe every person that you don’t understand.
Have I got your attention yet? Maybe hitting too close to home? Well, it’s meant to do just that. For there isn’t a one of us out there who hasn’t thought or acted just like this, at some point in our lives. And maybe, just maybe, I have described who you happen to be right here, right now?
I know that nobody will admit that last one, out loud. But between me, you and this screen, if that’s you, welcome to the party. The party called humanity. Oh, you’ve forgotten that humanity is sinned stained? You’ve forgotten that all people fall short of the mark, all people sin? Well, reality check – Left to our own devices, we will mess this thing called life up every single time.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to get all preachy on you. I simply want you to acknowledge that you sometimes judge other people unjustly, too quickly and without ever even getting to know who they are and why they do what they do. In light of all of this confession making, I also want you to consider acknowledging this basic truth of relationships in your life – Treat others the way that you want to be treated. Aka, the Golden Rule from Luke 6:31.
Stop trying to stop judging other people. It’s futile and a waste of time and energy. It only leads to self-defeat, because you will lose to your sin-stained nature every time; if you simply try to stop being judgmental on your own, under your own power. Come on, you know it’s true. How many times have you tried to stop judging other people because you know that it’s wrong? Only to turn right around and judge the next person that you see without even thinking?
So, understanding that you are sometimes judgmental, here’s something for you to try. When a judgmental thought comes across your mind, stop and ask yourself this one simple question: Would I like it if someone judged me that way? If your thoughts are judgmental, based on some preconceived bias in your own mind, this simple question will stop them in their tracks. For nobody wants to be judged, based on some preconceived bias in another person’s mind.
See, your goal isn’t to completely stop judgmental thoughts. Your goal is, with the help of the Holy Spirit and other followers of Jesus, to not act on your judgmental thoughts. If you try to stop being judgmental, simply by telling yourself that you can’t be judgmental, you will fail. Yet, if you stop acting on your judgmental thoughts, because you want to be less judgmental, you will find that over time you will become less and less judgmental. Your want will trump your can’t every single time. For a want can only come from the inside and a can’t can only come from the outside. And God desires to transform you from the inside out, not the outside in.
Now don’t be fooled. You will fall off the judgmental wagon every now and again. After all, we are living in a world full of sin-stained humans. And sometimes sin-stained humans do pretty stupid things. But, you will get better at catching your judgmental thoughts and putting them to the Golden Rule test, because you want to.