We find it so easy to judge each otherâby the way we speak, act or by the wise or unwise decisions we make. I can immediately think of several situations where I have jumped to conclusions or made harsh, unnecessary judgements of others. We effortlessly cast criticism upon those we believe are wrong or simply don't fit in. We justify our thoughts with a layered outlook of what's better or worse.
It's never a nice feeling to be on the receiving end of someone's criticism or judgement. Regardless of how often we face it, we all have been victim to unfair judgement at some point.
The dodgy visitor
When I was a relatively new Christian I visited a church with a friend. I was suffering an intense migraine and had to take some strong pain killers to stay above the pain. In hind sight it would have been better to stay home, but I had wanted to check out this church for a while.
We were welcomed by the greeters and found our way to a seat. I decided to go to the toilet before the service started so I went back into the foyer and hunted about.
There was a little cafÃ© stall, so I asked one of the workers, a young lady, where the toilet was. She politely started to give directions when another worker cut her off. "No, no," she said. "The toilets are outsideâout that door and to the left". The opposite direction, I noted, to what the first lady had started to gesture towards.
I thanked her and went out the door, to the left and up a very long ramp only to discover all the doors were locked. Hmmm, obviously someone had forgotten to unlock the toilets or I needed a key, I thought to myself as I walked back to ask.
But when I reached the entrance it was locked. I noticed everyone had gone in and the service had begun. It took a few seconds for me to realise I had been purposely locked out!
Upset, I went back to my car and had a rest while I waited for my friend. I think they thought I was just some drugged-up guy passing through who was looking for a toilet. The second lady must have conceived a quick plan to get me out of the buildingâI know didn't look too well but what a complete misinterpretation!
Love without judgement
I have long since forgiven her for her quick judgement, but I do find it is good to remember this story. I find God uses the memory to remind me of how I felt that day and dismiss a train of judgmental thought about someone or a situation before it takes hold in my mind.
God calls us to love without judgementâmany of the verses dealing with this topic say outright we should not judge others (Matthew chapter 7, verses 1â5).
The Bible says all of us have fallen short of God's perfect standard in one way or another. We have all messed up, done the wrong thing or acted selfishly. Yet, so often we expect others to live perfectly!
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, who gave up his life so we could be blameless; so God might exchange his perfect record for our ruined ones. When we trust in Jesus we know that irrespective of what right, wrong, wise or unwise decisions we have made in life, God is able to judge us righteousâby not counting our wrongs against us (2 Corinthians chapter 5, verses 16â21). Let's be thankful for God's work in taking us from being dead in our sins to being alive in Christ (Ephesians chapter 2, verses 4â10). What an awesome God we have. The one who judges us righteously!
Michael Dahlenburg is an Electronics Engineer currently working in the ATM industry. He is non-denominational and has previously been involved in church plants and assisting those in ministry. His interests include; enjoying family, home DIY, gardening, all things tech-related and driving his wife crazy with a constant stream of inventions! He lives with his wife Michelle and (soon-to-be) 3 children in God's own land of Southern Adelaide, Australia.
Michael Dahlenburg's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/michael-dahlenburg.html