Every couple of weeks, I see memes like this one:
And while, I agree with the message, the mindset behind these memes is garbage.
Allow me a few minutes to explain.
It is true that Jesus said very plainly that we should not judge others. You can read that for yourself here. Judging other people comes from a place of self-righteous comparison, where you view yourself as better than someone else because they do something that you don’t and that “something” is considered a sin or inappropriate. We all have SOME sin that we have struggled with and one is NOT worse than another.
Additionally, the Bible says that when Jesus went to the cross, He took our deserved judgment from God so that we would not have to bear the punishment for our sinful nature. You can read that here. So technically, the right to judgment has been eliminated by the cross. We now have an option to go to God without the weight of condemnation.
I take issue with the sentiment of “don’t judge me”, though, because too many people use it to justify wrong, immoral, and destructive behavior. They use it in response to people trying to help them. If you are a drug addict, and your mom says, “Please stop using drugs! This is going to kill you!”, she is not judging you. She wants you to live. If you are out here sleeping with random people unprotected, your best friend says, “Your behavior is not safe”: that is not a judgment: it is the truth. If I tell you that your attitude is keeping people from pursuing a relationship with you or that your lack of follow through is affecting your employability, I am not judging you; I am trying to help you.
Everything that someone says is not a judgment. Some of it is just honesty and a desire to see you do better and be better.
The problem that we encounter is how do we know when someone is judging and when someone is trying to give some constructive criticism? Well, that depends on YOU. You know good and well when someone is picking at you versus when someone is trying to honestly help you. For me, I have a series of questions I ask myself:
Am I offended by what the person said?
Did it make me want to irrationally defend something that I am doing?
Is it something that someone has brought up multiple times?
Is it something that multiple people have pointed out to me?
When I stop being mad, can I see some truth in what was said?
I have some very blunt-not-always-nice people in my life–some who love to point out my problems. They hurt my feelings, too. But after I get over my hurt feelings and think about it, sometimes I have to admit that maybe I need to self-check.
It is totally wrong to judge people. We never know what they are going through or have been through to get where they are. But everybody isn’t picking on you all the time. Sometimes you have a problem or just a bad habit that can derail your life if you do not correct it. Don’t be so sensitive that you cannot take correction–loving or not.
God bless! And remember that while judgment belongs to God, He corrects those He loves–and He put people in your life who can help you by pointing out things in yourself that you cannot see. Take correction and grow.