|Freedom From Judgmentalism|
|Freedom From Judgmentalism||47||Learning To Conquer A Critical Spirit||51|
|Various Ways Of Judging||48||Demonstrating a Charitable Attitude||52|
|“Judge Not That Ye Be Not Judged!”||49||Discussion Questions||53|
|God Alone Is Capable Of Judging!||50|
Freedom From Judgmentalism
“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:5 NIV). Having the mind of Christ means that we will be freed from the bondage of judgmentalism. To be freed from the critical spirit which seeks to judge our fellowmen, we must turn our eyes upon Jesus and look fully into his wonderful face.
My Master’s Face
"No pictured likeness of my Lord have I; He carved no record of His ministry On wood or stone, He left no sculptured tomb nor parchment dim, But trusted for all memory of Him Men's hearts alone.
Who sees the face but sees in part; who reads The spirit which it hides, sees all; he needs No more. Thy grace - Thy life in my life, Lord, give Thou to me; And then, in truth, I may forever see My master's face!
– William Hurd Hillyer –
(Christ and the Fine Arts; pg. 5)
“Thy life in my life, Lord; give Thou to me” – this must be the prayer of every sincere believer! The mind of Christ and the life of Christ is the mind and life of charity and acceptance. Not harshness, but sweetness of spirit. Not criticism, but compassion. Not rejection, but acceptance. Not judgmentalism, but charitableness. Not condemnation, but salvation. Not intolerance, but flexibility. Not dogmatism, but openness. Not rigidness, but adaptability.
The more of the mind of Christ that one experiences, the less of the spirit of criticism and judgmentalism will one possess.
"Jesus, thou art all compassion, Pure unbounded love thou art."
The Master’s face is not sour and critical, but it is sweet and radiant – radiant with the love of the Father’s heart.
"I cannot think or reason I only know He came With hands and feet of healing And wild heart all aflame."
– Willard Wattle –
(Ibid; pg. 219)
“Father, help me to see people through the eyes of Christ, and in seeing people thus, see them as people who are redeemable and full of God-given potential! May I see beyond the surface to the depth, beyond the apparent to the real, beyond the action to the intent, beyond the face to the heart. Knowing all about another, I will forgive all in another. In Jesus’ forgiving name. Amen.”
AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: I will not usurp God’s authority in life – the authority to judge others!
1 Timothy 5:19-25
Various Ways Of Judging
Some judge a person’s future on the basis of that person’s present. “A play producer, Gilbert Frankau, was producing a play and was in need of a male actor to play the leading part. He sent to a theatrical agency for a young male actor and after he was interviewed and tested, Gilbert Frankau telephoned to the agent and said, ‘This man will never do. He cannot act, and he never will be able to act, and you had better tell him to look for some other profession before he starves. By the way, tell me his name again so that I can cross him off my list.’ The actor’s name was Ronald Colman who became one of the greatest actors the screen has ever know.” (Daily Study Bible; Matthew, pg. 266) Never judge a person’s future on the basis of his present!
Some judge a person on the basis of partial knowledge or on the basis of external appearance. The person who is reserved while in a group, for instance, cannot be said necessarily to be timid at all times. Usually the persons you and I know are partially figments of our imagination. We judge them, on the basis of inadequate information.
How often have we judged a person to be snobbish, when this was not the case at all; he was inflicted with inferior feelings. A person who appears listless or passive most of the time, might prove to be one of the most aggressive am helpful persons during a period of emergency.
“There is a kind of crystal called Labrador spar. At first sight it is dull and without lustre; but if it is turned round and round, and here and there, it will suddenly come into a position where the light strikes it in a certain way and it will sparkle with flashing beauty. People are like that. They may seem to be unlovely, but that is because we do not know the whole person. Everyone has something good in him or her. Our task is not to condemn, and to judge by superficial unloveliness, but to look for the underlying beauty.” (Daily Study Bible; Matthew; pg. 267)
Some judge a situation on the basis of unreliable circumstances. Imagine a situation in which a minister is called upon by a young widow woman to take her to the hospital on emergency, late at night. Suppose too that it is very difficult for the minister’s wife to go with her husband, because of small children in the home. In such a situation, the neighbor who happens to look out the window just as the woman is getting into the minister’s car, could judge the minister as being unfaithful or could reserve judgment am could put the best construction on the situation. As Christians, we must always give another the benefit of a doubt, regardless of the appearances surrounding a situation.
“Father, help me never to draw quick conclusions about people, without the adequacy of facts and without the sensitivity of deep understanding. Help me to believe the best about people, never the worst. Help me to assume, if there is any room for assumption at all, that people are much better than what others say they are. In the charitable name of Jesus. Amen.”
AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: Believing the best about others will help others to become their best!
“Judge Not That Ye Be Not Judged!”
Matthew 7:1 says, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” This can be interpreted as: “Do not condemn or criticize others if you do not want to be criticized yourself by others.” The person who criticizes others most is usually the person who receives most criticism and is liked the least. This statement has also been interpreted as: “Do not judge others it you yourselves do not wish to be judged harshly by God at the final judgment of evaluation for believers.”
The Scriptures definitely teach a coming judgment for believers – a judgment which will judge the quality of life believers have lived on earth! This judgment is sometimes refereed to as ‘the judgment of works’, or ‘the judgment of evaluation’. It is not a judgment to determine one’s final eternal destiny. Rather, it is a judgment to test the worth and quality of the Christian’s works and relationships on earth.
1 Corinthians 3:10-15 is one of several Scriptures which refer to this judgment of believers. “Let each take care how he builds. There can be no other foundation beyond that which is already laid; I mean Jesus Christ himself. If anyone builds on that foundation with gold, silver, and fine stone, or with wood, hay, and straw, the work that each man does will at last be brought to light; the day of judgment will expose it. For that day dawns in fire, and the fire will test the worth of each man’s work. If a man’s building stands, he will be rewarded; if it burns, he will have to bear the loss; and yet he will escape with his life, as one might from a fire.” (New English Bible) The Christian who judges may be saved eternally, but he is certain to suffer some type of loss at the judgment of evaluation. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that everyone may receive the things done, whether it be good or bad.” (II Cor. 5:10)
Jesus further says, “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” (Matthew 7:2) Jesus seems to be saying: “Judge not, for in not judging others, you do not set the standard for your own judgment.” The standard that we apply in judging others will be applied in judgment of us! If we expect much of others, much will be expected of us. If we judge others harshly, we will be judged harshly. “The slave who knows his master’s plan but does not get ready or act upon it will be severely punished, but the servant who did not know the plan, though he has done wrong, will be let off lightly.” (Luke 12:47-48 a Phillps) By the way we treat others in this life, we set the standard for our own judgement hereafter!
“Father, just as I desire to receive mercy, not justice, from your hand, so help me to extend mercy, not judgment, towards others. To extend forgiveness to others is to receive forgiveness from you. To withhold forgiveness from others is to forfeit my forgiveness from you. Help me to judge not that I be rot judged! In Jesus’ lovely name. Amen.”
AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: I will seek to treat others in the same way that I desire to be treated by God – kindly and uncritically!
1 Samuel 16:7; 2 Corinthians 5:12; Hebrews 4:13
God Alone Is Capable Of Judging!
“And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pullout the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:3-5)
Jesus is saying: “Judge not for you are incapable of judging.” God alone is capable of doing that. Notes Barclay, “NO man is good enough to judge any other man. Jesus drew a vivid picture of a man with a plank in his own eye trying to extract a speck of dust from someone else’s eye… Only the faultless has a right to look for faults in others.” (Daily Study Bible; Matthew; pg. 268) It is hypocritical to criticize others when you have the same or worse faults in yourself. Said Jesus, “Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.” (Luke 16:15)
This is a vivid picture that Jesus uses to describe the folly of judging others. It is like a blind oculist (eye doctor) attempting to remove a small speck of dust from another person’s eye. Only God who clearly sees all men’s hearts is capable of judging or criticizing.
Wrote Paul, “Now if you feel inclined to set yourself up as a judge of those who sin, let me assure you, whoever you are, that you are in no position to do so. For at whatever point you condemn others you automatically condemn yourself, since you, the judge, commit the same sins. God’s judgment, we know is utterly impartial in its action against such evildoers. What makes you think that you, who so readily judge the sins of others, can consider yourself beyond the judgment of God?” (Romans 2:1-3 Phillips) However, as Lloyd-Jones points out, “There is all the difference in the world between doing that (Judging) and expressing an enlightened, intelligent criticism of a man’s views and theories, his doctrine, his teachings or his mode or manner of life. We are called upon to do the latter; but the moment we condemn and dismiss the person we are assuming a power that belongs to God alone and to no one else.” (The Sermon On The Mount; pg. 169)
We are not to condemn a person, but we are to judge the rightness or wrongness of his position, morally and perhaps theologically. We are commanded to “contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.” (Jude 1:3) Jesus said we are to be ‘fruit inspectors’: “By their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matthew 7:16) We are to examine and evaluate and discriminate between truth and falsehood, but we are not to judge men.
“Father, let me never be eager to tell others their faults, for I myself am full of faults. The faults I most readily see in others are the same faults that are most glaring in me. Deliver me decisively from all fault-finding. Help me to focus on the fine, good things in others. In Jesus’ affirming name. Amen.”
AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: People grow through affirmation but wither through criticism. By God’s grace, I will be an affirming person!
Ephesians 4:30-31; James 5:16
Learning To Conquer A Critical Spirit
When you clearly see your personal need of forgiveness and mercy, you will be motivated to be forbearing, forgiving and merciful towards others (Ephesians 4:30-31). Realize that the spirit of judgmentalism evaporates as soon as you become conscious of your own faults and when you are willing to speak freely of them. A humble spirit of confession is incompatible with a harsh spirit of criticism. The two cannot co-exist. So learn to practice sincere and humble confession. James wrote, “Do not grumble, brethren, against one another, that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the doors… Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” (James 5:9, James 5:16)
Confession is the way to healing – healing both for yourself and for another. It is a good solution to the problem of a critical spirit.
Only when I hate sin intensely within myself, will I love and accept the wrong-doer unconditionally, and know, not to condemn him, but to share with him my own wrongdoings. Only as I focus on taking the beam out of my own eye, will the wrong-doer be convinced of the beam in his own eye. Only when I, as a believer, engage in self-incrimination, open sharing, humble confession, will the wrong-doer be motivated to do the same.
To criticize a man is to drive a man into self-justification and thus away from repentance and away from God. We hinder, not help, a man by becoming his judge. By becoming his judge, we stand in the place of God who alone is Judge. The transgressor acknowledges wrong-doing in the quietness of personal contemplation or in the presence of a non-critical friend.
‘Judge not’ – that is the call to every Christian. How can you rid yourself of this overbearing, destructive practice? “The spirit of judgmentalism evaporates as soon as I become conscious of my own faults and speak freely of them to my friend, as he speaks to me of those which made him reproach, himself.” (The Best of Paul Tournier; pg. 85)
Confession is contagious! The cost of being a counselor is to confess my own faults to the counselee. Healing of the troubled person takes place, not in the atmosphere of criticism or self-righteousness, but in the atmosphere of mutual caring and sharing. How are conflicts and problems in relationships solved? Not by exchange of logic and debate and arguments which are generally exchanged as if in the presence of two deaf men. But by exchange of heartfelt confession of personal weakness and needs, creating an atmosphere of true caring and sharing. When my attitude changes from one of judgmentalism to understanding and humble confession, I build a bridge of love and openness, creating healing in relationships.
“Father, take away my fear of personal vulnerability. Make me honest and open and transparent. Tear down my walls of defense, and enable me freely to confess my sins, both to you and to those who love me. Then I shall enjoy fellowship at the deeper levels. In Jesus’ name.”
AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: Courage to confess my sins to others will allow me to enjoy the healing of God and the reconciliation of men.
John 8:3-11; Luke 9:49-50
Demonstrating a Charitable Attitude
Being a loving person means allowing others to live their own lives, without imposing your own convictions and standards upon them. Hold your convictions confidently, but never force them on another. There is no place for harshness or arrogance in the holding of convictions. Have a generous and appreciative spirit towards others who differ from you, and even be willing to listen, to learn, and sometimes even to change your own ideas. “Oliver Cromwell wrote once to the intransigent Scots, ‘I beseech you by the bowels of Christ, think it possible that you may be mistaken.’ T.R. Glover somewhere quotes a saying, ‘Remember that whatever your hand finds to do, someone thinks differently!'” (Daily Study Bible; Luke; pg. 130; Barclay)
A good motto is, “Live and let live!” When E. Stanley Jone’s daughter was married, Jones remarked, “I never want to be in the way; nor out of the way – if I’m needed.”
Tolerance – the right kind of tolerance – seems to be a lost virtue. Not the tolerance of compromise and worldliness, but the tolerance that excludes judgmentalism and narrow-mindedness.
“Of all the greatest religious leaders none was such a pattern of tolerance as John Wesley. ‘I have no more right’, he said, ‘to object to a man for holding a different opinion from mine than I have to differ with a man because he wears a wig and I wear my own hair; but if he takes his wig off and shakes the powder in my face, I shall consider it my duty to get quit of him as soon as possible… The thing which I resolved to use every possible method of preventing was a narrowness of spirit, a party zeal, a being straitened in our own bowels – that miserable bigotry which makes many so unready to believe that there is any work of God but among themselves… We think and let think.’
“When his nephew, Samuel, the son of his brother Charles, entered the Roman Catholic Church, he wrote to him, ‘Whether in this Church or that I care not. You may be saved in either or damned in either; but I fear you are not born again.'” (Daily Study Bible; Luke; pg. 130; Barclay)
Jesus condemned sin but he never condemned the sinner. He was open and accepting and charitable, and forbearing (Luke 9:49-50). There is no harshness of spirit in Jesus. Jesus is gracious, winsome, attractive, and loving. Jesus is not judgmental or condemning. The Son of God came not to condemn the world but to save the world (John 3:17). To the woman taken in adultery, Jesus said, “Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?” She answered, “No man, Lord.” And Jesus said unto her, “Neither do I condemn thee; go, and sin no more.” (John 8:10-11)
“Lord, let me hold firm convictions without being harsh towards others who differ from me. ‘Give me an open mind, a tender heart, a teachable spirit. Give me an expansive view of life, willing to learn from everyone everywhere. Give me that humility that welcomes correction and change throughout my entire life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: I will not allow my first impression to be my last impression of people, but will direct my attention to the deeper qualities of people, which are discovered with increased time and deeper experience!
Discussion Questions On ‘Freedom From Judgmentalism’
- Do you agree with the following statement: “The more of the mind of Christ that one experiences, the less of the spirit of criticism and judgmentalism will one possess.”
- Why is it unwise and dangerous to judge a person’s future based on his present condition or achievements?
- Why is it unwise and dangerous to judge a person on the basis of partial knowledge or on the basis of external appearance?
- What is the difference between judging a person and evaluating a person? (consider Matthew 7:1, Matthew 7:15-20, and 1 John 4:1-3
- What does Matthew 7:2 mean to you?
- Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: “By the way we treat others in this life, we set the standard for our own judgment hereafter!”
- Why is it true that God alone is capable of judging another human being?
- What is perhaps the strongest motivation to be forbearing, forgiving, and charitable towards others rather than judgmental towards others?
- In what ways is ‘Confession’ a good solution to the problem of a critical spirit?
- Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: “Only when I, as a believer, engage in self-incrimination, open sharing, and humble confession, will the wrong-doer be motivated to do the same.”
- Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: “To criticize a man is to drive a man into self-justification and thus away from repentance and away from God.”
- What is meant by the phrase ‘Confession is Contagious’?
- Is it possible to hold your own personal convictions firmly without imposing them upon others and without judging others for not accepting your convictions?
- What are some right and some wrong expressions of tolerance in relationship to others?
- In terms of attitudes and behavior, what does it mean to condemn sin without condemning the sinner?