BY PASTOR T.O. BANSO
“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults-unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor” (Matthew 7:1-5, The Message).
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 is a hypocrite. He is a destroyer because his criticisms do not build up other persons but destroy what is 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 far 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 that it is 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 right in others but only what is wrong. That’s what many do – just paint the others black so that they look good. And 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 first ask yourself some questions: 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 will not present me as trying to get undue advantage over the person? These are some of the important questions that will help you to extricate yourself from a judgmental spirit. It will help you to ascertain that you’re not being propelled by envy or hatred. This will help you to be, at best, a friend and not just a faultfinder. Most people will appreciate an honest correction appropriately made. “In the end, people appreciate honest criticism far more than flattery” (Prov. 28:23, NLT). Prov. 25:12 says, “To one who listens, valid criticism is like a gold earring or other gold jewelry” (NLT).
I read that whenever the great Scottish preacher, Alexander Whyte, was tempted to level cutting criticism against anyone, he would ask three questions: “Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it helpful?” That was someone trying to ensure that his criticisms were not out of a wrong motive. To him, it was not enough that his criticisms were true. He wanted to be sure that they were also necessary and helpful.
The Bible says, “Who are you to criticize someone else’s servant? The Lord will determine whether his servant has been successful”(Rom. 14:4 God’s Word Translation) The Message Bible puts verses 2-4 thus: “For instance, a person who has been around for a while might well be convinced that he can eat anything on the table, while another, with a different background, might assume he should only be a vegetarian and eat accordingly. But since both are guests at Christ’s table, wouldn’t it be terribly rude if they fell to criticizing what the other ate or didn’t eat? God, after all, invited both to the table. Do you have any business crossing people off the guest list or interfering with God’s welcome? If there are corrections to be made or manners to be learned, God can handle that without your help.” Don’t be too quick to judge others. Give allowance for people’s fault. Nobody is perfect including you.
The dangers of 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 actions’” (Matt. 11:18-19, NIV). 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. They will hardly encourage you to become better though they too are not perfect. Everybody has his or her struggles.
People with a judgmental spirit are usually bad leaders. They usually demoralize their followers or subordinates with their unkind words and insensitive comments. And words kill! They usually use a sledge hammer to kill a fly! They’re stingy with positive reinforcement and affirmation but generous with condemnation. They 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 you have a relationship with but when it becomes constant, habitual and is inappropriately made 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, NLT)
If you will acknowledge that there are many things wrong about you, you will be lenient with others.You won’t be too quick to preside over their cases and you won’t be forcefully unkind about it. You won’t be harsh.“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Matt. 5:7, NKJV).
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, NKJV). None of them was innocent. They all dispersed. Psalm 130:3 says, “If You, LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?” (NKJV). And Jesus told the woman to go and sin no more. He didn’t condone the woman’s sin but rather gave her opportunity for repentance. Her accusers were as sinful as that woman but they were quick and proud to preside over her in judgment. Judgmental sinners! Hear what Paul said: “…Every time you criticize someone, you condemn yourself. It takes one to know one. Judgmental criticism of others is a well known way of escaping detection in your crimes and misdemeanors. But God isn’t so easily diverted. He sees right through all such smoke screens and holds you to what you’ve done. You didn’t think, did you, that by pointing your finger at others you would distract God from seeing all your misdoings and from coming down on you hard?” (Rom. 2:1-3, The Message). Don’t be judgmental.
If you’ve not yet given your life to Jesus and you’ll like to do so, you need 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 Lord and how to discover and fulfill God’s purpose for your life.
Kindly say this prayer now: “0 Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I’m a sinner and I cannot save myself. I repent of my sins today and ask for forgiveness. 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’m saved. Thank you Jesus for saving me and making me a child of God.”
I congratulate you if you’ve said that prayer sincerely. You are now a child of God. May the Lord make you a Cedar Christian. May you grow into Christ in all things and becomie all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you.
T.O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523