When Christians Judge Others

Being a human, one of the most difficult challenges I have is not judging others.  This no doubt comes in part from a common character flaw most of us humans have in believing that me, myself and I are better than you, yourself and others.  It is quite likely the most common mistake we make in our daily lives, and most of the time we don’t even realize we are making it.

Did you notice that I did not start out saying “Being a Christian…” but rather chose to start by saying “Being a human…”?  We Christians are human, so clearly this would apply to us as well as the next person.  But I wonder if some reading this who are not Christian might take offense to me saying that their judging others is a character flaw?  Here’s my logic.

judgment – noun : the ability to judge, make a decision, or form an opinion objectively, authoritatively, and wisely, especially in matters affecting action; good sense; discretion

judge – noun :  a person qualified to pass critical judgment

Why would it be a human character flaw to judge others?  Is it right for me to look at someone and think to myself “Look at this wacko with the fluorescent hair and nose ring. What a scuzzo!”  No, of course it wouldn’t.  I would be appointing myself judge over how people should look, and then extending that to the character of the person.  Because of that transgression (doing what is wrong), I have exhibited flawed “judgment”, thus disqualifying myself from judging others.

This prejudice (pre-judging without merit) described is a visual one, one of but many we as humans are prone to.  Whatever the catalyst, we – as humans – fall short quite often in rising above these prejudices and this is why I believe we all bear this character flaw.

So what makes this issue any different for the Christian versus the non-Christian?  I’ve spoken with a number of other Christians on this topic before and many of us feel that we bear a greater responsibility toward arresting and correcting this character flaw because the one whose example we profess to follow did not have this flaw in His character and warned us numerous times against committing this transgression.

The apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans that “we all fall short of the glory of God”.  Jesus taught on numerous occasions that we should not judge others.  Jesus also told Nicodemus that He came not to condemn but to save.

When Christians judge others, we contaminate the message of our God.  By doing so, in effect, we place ourselves higher than others and on the same level as our God – and this is clearly a mistake.  When we find ourselves doing this, we must remember what our Lord and Savior told the questioning Pharisee who asked which was the greatest commandment.  Jesus told him that we must love God first and love others second.  This puts loving ourselves last.

If we as Christians are to fulfill our commission and extend the love and message of Christ to the world, it must start with humility and that includes not judging others.

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