Judgment. We pass it every day with out thinking. Whether it be on people’s clothes, the way they talk, the way they act, the people they associate with. For some reason we feel entitled to have an opinion about anything and everything. What’s worse is sometimes we voice these negative opinions further spilling poison on to each other. But what gives us the right to pass judgment on each other? Absolutely nothing.
It’s no secret I grew up in the church. And it’s probably not shocking when I say I often find the most judgmental people at church. Far too often I’ve watched people confess to sin only to be shunned by the very brothers and sisters in Christ that are supposed to be there for each other in times of gladness and sorrow. I’ve seen churches divide due to taking sides of either the sinner or the victim when in all honesty, we’re supposed to love them equally. None of us have any right to judge another. None of us is without fault. But here we sit in a world of hatred and judgment complacent to continue the trend of judgment.
Does passing judgment really bring any good to the world? What would be the downfall of trying to be more accepting of each other? What would happen if you chose not to pass judgment but instead looked for the truth or looked past any fault that may exist?
A friend once said to me there are three sides to every story, theirs, mine and the truth. What might be presented as the truth may be far from what really happened. There are always biases and hidden agendas when relaying “news”. But we’re not always privy to the real truth. So what should we do? I suggest we try to find the good in people more often than the bad and where ever possible let the truth come out before passing judgment. Rather than walk away from people during their time of need we put our own agendas aside and give them the love and encouragement they need to make it through the difficult times.
And while you may think? Who’s she to be saying this? I’m someone who was driven out of my own church because the very brothers and sisters in Christ I grew up with chose to believe a rumour that was false. I’m someone who was verbally attacked by a pastor in her own church in the middle of the foyer on a Sunday morning after service over a false accusation. I’m the one who’s husband walked out on her because he too believed the lie. I’m someone who never received an apology from many of the people who publicly humiliated me over false information but chose to forgive those people of their sin against me. And I’m someone who swore to myself that when the tables were turned I would do what Christ taught – he who is without sin cast the first stone. Or in other words – don’t judge.
I sometimes wonder what my life would have been like if people truly stood behind me, encouraged me, prayed with me and chose not to pass judgment on me. Would I have gone through that incredibly dark time of my life? Would I have wandered so far from my faith in God? Would I have stayed on the straight and narrow path? Would I feel so strongly about helping people when others turned away from them? I’ll never know the answers to these questions.
What I do know is that I have the choice now to be the change I want to see in the world. I have the choice to speak out about judging others and I have the choice to walk the talk and stand by my friends when others turn away from them – no matter what the cost.
What will you do next time someone judges you? What will you do next time you feel the urge to judge? How can you be more positive in an overly negative world? Hopefully you choose to be less quick to judge and more open to knowing the truth. Or even standing by a person who admits they made a mistake and give them the love and support they need while facing the consequences.