Judgment is ugly. You know it. I know it. And yet, I still do it. A lot.
- Can you believe they let their kids behave like that?
- He must have no self control if he still does [insert bad habit here].
That barista sure is grumpy. She should get a different job.
The music at church needs to be faster…or slower, louder, quieter, repeated less, played better.
He’s been a Christian long enough to know better…or do better…or be better.
and on…and on…and on…
Judgment comes when we identify someone else by their worst qualities and ourselves by our best qualities.
I know I’m guilty of this. If I am short with my wife or kids, or let a “golfing word” pass my lips, it’s just a mistake. But if someone else does that? Well, that must be the way they are all the time.
Like I said before: U.G.L.Y.
The topic of judgment surfaced recently when I preached a sermon at my home church. Our pastor was a few weeks into a series on Romans and I was just preaching the next sermon in line. The text was Romans 1:18-32. Oh how I wanted to fast forward to Chapter 5 – or better yet – Chapter 8! But no. The text assigned to me begins with the words The wrath of God is being revealed… (And the rest of the chapter doesn’t get any better.)
In all transparency, my initial thoughts as I began to study the text were judgment. I superimposed the Paul’s descriptions and “lists” of sins on others. Oh yes. That IS terrible. How can people be like that? I am surrounded by so many sinners.
But God sighed and remained patient. Through His Living Word He began to ask me some questions. And you know what? They were all about me.
They weren’t accusatory. (As my words sometimes are.) They weren’t laced with condemnation. (As my thoughts frequently are.) I knew they were meant for my good. My maturity. My improvement in growing toward Christ-likeness.
While I only had 35-40 minutes to unpack all five questions that morning, I have been pondering them ever since. Each of them needs to be a conversation in and of itself. The next five blog posts will be those conversations. Each will look at one of the questions.
My prayer is that these questions will be encouragement – not further judgment. That these questions will be the backdrop for conversations with your Creator – and trusted friends. That these questions will lead to prayer – and that you will share some of your thoughts here in the comments.
After all, we could all use a little more encouragement, and a lot less judgment.
If you want to get a preview, you can listen to the sermon here:
Photo Credit: SHUT Theory (Creative Commons)