In an exercise in one of my classes this year, we had to sit in a circle and make two lists. One list was a list of pros about ourselves, and the other was cons.
We each had to list one pro and one con about ourselves and every other person in the room and it was supposed to be anonymous.
Even though there were so many great compliments from people, the con side stuck out to me the most. There were about four comments in a row from the same group of girls saying that I was too judgmental.
These are girls that are my friends. I might not be super close with all of them, but I do still care about them. And they all thought I judged them. They all felt like I think I’m better than them.
In a way they were right. And in another way they were wrong- but we’ll get back to this.
The truth is, I do judge people. I do think I’m better than others. I see what someone struggles with and I place myself higher than them in my head because I don’t struggle with their issue. But I know this isn’t what I am called for.
One of my favorite stories in the Bible is of the woman caught in adultery.
Basically, the priests and Pharisees wanted to have a reason to charge Jesus. So they found him in the temple and brought a woman caught in adultery to him. They pointed out that in the law of Moses, she should be stoned. Then asked what Jesus thought should happen to her.
This is important because the officers and Pharisees were looking to test Jesus. If he forgave her, he’d be going against what the law said. But if he condemned her than Jesus would go against his own teachings of love and mercy.
Jesus waited to answer. Then said, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7.
We have all messed up. We have all let someone down. We have all sinned.
And that’s okay because our God is a God of mercy. But he doesn’t just brush off our sins, if we want true forgiveness we have to work a little for it. We have to make the conscious effort to abandon our old, sinful ways and grow in our relationship with God. Then we will reap the gift of forgiveness.
The end of the story of the woman caught in adultery is Jesus telling her, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again.” John 8:11.
If Jesus is willing to forgive us, why is it so hard for us to forgive others? Why do we place ourselves on a pedestal and belittle those around us until we have fooled ourselves into thinking we are superior?
Those girls that told me I was too judgmental do some things that I don’t agree with. But so does everyone. I do things that they don’t agree with.
Sin is sin. I think it’s easy for Christians to look at others and think that we are better than them. But that isn’t the case.
Just because someone struggles with one kind of sin doesn’t mean you don’t struggle too somewhere else. Maybe that one person has a drinking problem, but maybe you have a gossiping problem or something else that you battle with.
And just because you might not struggle with one kind of sin now doesn’t mean you won’t ever struggle with that kind of sin later.
I think that’s one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned so far growing up. The temptations and battles you face can change over the period of your life.
So, yes, I have judged people. I still do. But I care about people too. I like to believe that if someone came to me in great need, I’d help them out. If you ever need prayers or help, reach out to me. I want to and will love my neighbor- this is what Jesus has called me for, and I know that he has called you to great things as well.
“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive and you will be forgiven.” Luke 6:37