Being made in God’s image has its advantages and its disadvantages. Judging others is definitely a downside.
8 Whoever plots evil will be known as a schemer. 9 The schemes of folly are sin, and people detest a mocker.
Most of us don’t consider ourselves as plotters of evil. While we don’t sit around devising schemes to steal money or kill someone, there is another form of evil that tends to infiltrate our thoughts. When we do ANYTHING that is NOT SPIRIT-DRIVEN, we are acting in our own power and our own will. We deny the Spirit’s authority in our lives and we miss His way. We may have cleaned up our actions, but our thoughts betray how far we have to go in being like Jesus.
Jesus spelled it out to us in Matthew 7,
1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3 “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? 4 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? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
Here’s the thing: What is God working on in a person’s life? His past? His upbringing? His habits? His attitude? His thoughts? His words? His deeds? In other words, we don’t know. Sometimes, they don’t even know. Add to this predicament difficult circumstances and we wonder what God is doing!
We must remember that:
- God is sovereign, which means that He is always in control. We will NEVER fall through the cracks concerning Him and His concern for us.
- God created the natural laws and we live according to them. He works within those natural laws (in other words, we all die) and rarely circumvents them. He WILL work everything according to His will concerning people’s salvation, but not necessarily for our physical benefit. It usually has to do with influence and witness. In fact, He may even use our deaths to reach others for Christ. Are we willing to go there with Him?
- He is much more concerned with our walk with Him than us living a perfect life. We must remember that it’s all about the relationship!
When we get impatient with other brothers and sisters in Christ, we are imposing expectations* on God and them. We expect God to work on the same things in their lives that He is working on in ours. WE CANNOT DO THAT. He may be doing a much deeper work in them, in which case our expectation is unwarranted. If we persist in our judgement of them, we are into sin. In fact, we border on becoming a mocker, which has all kinds of consequences,
God opposes [takes up a boxer’s stance against] the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Proverbs 3:34 and James 4:6
The LORD detests the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished. Proverbs 16:5
Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18
Penalties are prepared for mockers, and beatings for the backs of fools. Proverbs 19:29
One of the main reasons for learning to not be judgemental is the fall-out. When our expectations are not met, then we become angry, disappointed, callous, spiteful, and eventually bitter. We shut out those people who “don’t measure up.” We hold them in contempt and speak unkindly about them and even to them. We become the very thing for which we hold them in judgement, which is unChristlikeness.
Here’s what Paul instructs us to do when we find ourselves standing in judgement of others:
(30) Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (31) [How?] Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling [fighting, both physical and verbal] and slander, along with every form of malice. Ephesians 4:30-31
That’s the removal; here’s the replacement:
(29) Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs that it may benefit those who listen. (32) Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:29, 32
How do we go about actually doing these things? We allow the Spirit to do it FOR us. We ask Him to flush out all ungodly thoughts and feelings. We ask Him to replace them with the joy of our salvation, the peace that He bestows upon His children, and to teach us to love as He loves, which means seeing others as He sees us: His precious children who are being groomed to reign with Him. Let’s get started today, shall we?
Abba, I pray that TODAY we might have victory in our lives concerning judgemental attitudes and having expectations of others. I’ll be first, LORD. I confess to being impatient and a bit harsh (unfiltered words) with someone(s) in my flock. I will apologize. Help me to be patient and long-suffering with them as they work through a life’s worth of history as You call them forward and upward. I pray that my brothers and sisters in Christ will have your own attitude with each other. May we be Christ to each other, LORD. Amen.
*There are three kinds of negative expectations:
- Unspoken-We expect the other person to intuitively know what we want.
- Unrealistic-What we are expecting is not logical or attainable.
- Unmet-We don’t get what we want–or expect–so we get angry, impatient, etc.