You know her. She never enters a conversation without making a one-sided proclamation. Or maybe it’s a him, who sees everything from behind his horse blinders and doesn’t hesitate to share his particular squinty-eyed world view with everyone around him. We are surrounded by a great gallery of judges. Everyone feels free to weigh in on matters that are frankly better left to our Lord to judge, but that doesn’t seem to stop the flow of condemnation that comes from their mouths.
If we sit with a judge whose prejudice and bias match our own, we sometimes don’t even notice it. We hear their banter as “opinions,” and everyone is entitled to their opinions, right? Free speech is the foundation of our society, and we roll with the judgements that suit us. But when someone runs counter to our thinking, we balk. That person is being so judgmental! Who gave them the right to spew?
Matthew 7:1-6 New International Version (NIV)
7 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?
5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
YIKES! I think I may just sit here quietly for the rest of the week. This passage makes God’s position very clear. He sits as the only judge on the bench, and any attempt we make at judging others is sure to come back on our hypocrisy and subject us to the harsh judgement we mete out to others. God’s word is simple. DO NOT JUDGE.
We have all been the subject of somebody else’s judgement. Early in my ministry, I was judged by some church people to be too female to be a clergy person. That was something about myself that I could not change, so I tried not to feel the sting of that dismissive assessment of my gifts. But it hurt, I’m not going to lie. To have one aspect of my self-hood be a reason for someone to reject me was hard, and it stung.
We’ve all been on the back end of judgment. We’ve been told we’re too young, too black, too gay, too differently-abled, too short, too fat, too thin, too old, too Asian, too tall, too much on the spectrum, too different, too liberal, too traditionalist….it’s all just TOO MUCH. How dare we?
Give as you would like to get. Love as you would like to be loved. See people the way God sees them. And treat everyone with the respect you would like to receive. God’s word is clear: judge not, lest you be judged. God is a jealous God, and he does not need anyone sitting on the throne of judgement but himself.
Sun Setting on a Colington Day