BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:1-5 New King James Version).
To be judgmental means to be too quick to criticize others or to have “a tendency to judge harshly.” A judgmental attitude is a negative attitude. It’s an attitude that judges or criticizes others’ conduct, not essentially with the mindset of helping them become better, and not because such a person can do better than them. A judgmental person does not build up others but destroys what is good in them.
In the scripture above, Jesus warned against this attitude. Nobody is perfect, not even those sitting in judgment over others. Jesus advised the hypocrites trying to help others to remove the specks in their eyes to first remove the log in their own eyes. A log is much bigger than specks. Instead of putting up a holier-than-thou attitude, judgmental people should be more concerned about the log in their own eyes than the specks in the eyes of other people. I’m sure with a log in their eyes, they can’t actually see clearly!
It is not wrong to point out faults in others, but it is wrong to make this one’s focus and do it inconsiderately, giving the impression that one is faultless or perfect. It’s bad to become a critic who sees nothing good in others but only what is bad. That’s what many do.They paint others black. You don’t have to paint someone black for you to look good! You don’t have to pull others down for you to rise in life. No. That’s not the Spirit of God.
Be careful how you point out the faults you notice in others. You may need to ask yourself some questions first: Is it true? What is my motive? What do I seek to achieve? Is this the best way or time to call the person’s attention to this? Is there a better approach that won’t present me as trying to get undue advantage over the person? Is my criticism necessary? Will it help the person? These are some of the important questions that can help you to avoid being judgmental.
This will help you to be, at best, a friend and not just a faultfinder or someone judging harshly out of envy or hatred. Most people will appreciate an honest correction, made appropriately. “In the end, people appreciate honest criticism far more than flattery” (Proverbs 28:23 New Living Translation). Proverbs 25:12 says, “To one who listens, valid criticism is like a gold earring or other gold jewelry” (New Living Translation).
Don’t be too quick to criticize others and don’t judge others harshly. The Bible says, “Who are you to criticize someone else’s servant? The Lord will determine whether his servant has been successful” (Romans 14:4 God’s Word Translation). The New Living Translation says, “Who are you to condemn God’s servants? They are responsible to the Lord, so let him tell them whether they are right or wrong. The Lord’s power will help them do as they should.”Give allowance for people’s fault. Nobody is perfect including you.
As ministers of the Gospel or as Christians, if a brother or sister errs from the truth of the Word of God, and must be told the truth, you must speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).You must not be judgmental. Correction must always aim at restoration, not condemnation. James 5:19-20 says, “Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins” (New King James Version). The Bible also says, in Galatians 6:1-2, “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted” (New King James Version).
The dangers of a judgmental spirit
A judgmental spirit is a relationship breaker. It’s impossible to please anyone with a judgmental spirit. Neither a husband nor a wife can please a spouse with a judgmental spirit. Not even Jesus could satisfy judgmental people. Hear what Jesus said: “For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and ‘sinners.’ ‘But wisdom is proved right by her right deeds’” (Matthew 11:18-19 New International Version). Did you see that? Luke 7:33-34 says a similar thing. You can never satisfy judgmental people. They have already made up their minds to see only your dark side. Everybody has his or her struggles, including judgmental people. However, they will not encourage you to overcome your challenges and become better.
People with a judgmental spirit are bad leaders. They usually demoralize their followers or subordinates with their unkind words and insensitive comments. And words kill! They’re stingy with positive reinforcement and affirmation but generous with condemnation! They sometimes end up losing their good and loyal followers or subordinates.
I’m not saying it’s wrong to correct those under you, your protégés, your colleagues or others that you have a relationship with. However, if it becomes habitual and it’s made inappropriately, while you close your eyes to other positive things about them, you’ll kill that relationship. Don’t make yourself a judge over people’s lives.“Don’t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God’s law. But your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you. God alone, who gave the law, is the Judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor?” (James 4:11-12 New Living Translation)
If you will acknowledge that you’re not perfect, you will be lenient with others. You won’t be too quick to preside over their cases and you won’t be heartless about it. You won’t be harsh.“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7 New King James Version).
Jesus told the accusers of that woman caught in adultery, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first” (John 8:7 New King James Version). None of them was innocent, so they couldn’t stone her. They all dispersed. Psalm 130:3 says, “If You, LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?” (New King James Version) Jesus told the woman to go and sin no more. He didn’t condone the woman’s sin, but gave her opportunity for repentance.
The woman’s accusers were as sinful as she was, but they were quick to judge her. They were hypocrites! They were judgmental, condemnatory! Hear what Paul said: “No matter who you are, if you judge anyone, you have no excuse. When you judge another person, you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the same things. We know that God’s judgment is right when he condemns people for doing these things. When you judge people for doing these things but then do them yourself, do you think you will escape God’s judgment” (Romans 2:1-3 God’s Word Translation). Don’t be judgmental.
If you’re not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus. I urge you to take the following steps:*Admit you’re a sinner and you can’t save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start to attend a Bible-believing, Bible -teaching church. There you will be taught how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and surrender my life to him today. I invite Jesus into my heart today. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you’ve said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You’ll need to join a Bible-believing, Bible-teaching church in your area where you’ll be taught how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be.
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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