What – me judgmental? No way! Are you quick to see the value in others, so you think you’re off the hook? Or maybe you form opinions of others but never utter them aloud? If so, join me in taking a challenge to uncover whether you are judgmental or not.
I remember a particular memory that sticks in my head like glue. With a loaded up double stroller, diaper bag, and three children we set out for the mall to buy some shiny new shoes. Upon arriving at our favorite shoe store, we were horrified by the behavior of a particular boy and HIS MOM. He apparently would not sit still. He climbed back and forth over the chairs spewing an array of items all over the floor. One couldn’t help but stare; he was quite loud. The poor salesman was exasperated.
First, I started forming questions in my mind.
- “Why doesn’t she discipline him?”
- “Isn’t she embarrassed?
- “Why doesn’t she care?”
- “Can’t she stop this?”
BUT then the judgments rolled out in full force as I sat looking at the fiasco before my eyes. “Certainly at seven one should have been able to sit still like my three children.” “What kind of parent allows their child to act this way in public?
“She must be a BAD MOM!”
What does it even mean to judge another?
When we judge others and attach an evaluation, we deem them “right” or “wrong,” “good” or “bad.” etc. It is our opinion of their choices, behavior, or values from our perspective and personal values. A comparison is made which is not necessarily based on facts or truth.
We are not taking into account what it is like to walk in their shoes.
It took being harshly judged myself and walking through deep waters to realize life is not always as it seems. Oh, how I shudder now at my thoughts. I had no idea what was going on in her life or that precious child of hers. How I wish I could go back and offer a hug, some understanding, or at the very least a smile that says,
“It is okay; this moment will pass.” “We can handle this.”
Do you judge others?
We all judge others whether we think we do or not. It is a natural instinct! We judge not only in the big things but the small stuff.
Challenge yourself to tally up how many times a judgment slips through your mind today. You might be surprised by the outcome. Look for statements starting out with
- “Why on earth would she ..”
- “Wow, did you see the way ..”
- “Check out ..!”
- “You would think they ..”
- “He is always !”
Look for those words we attach to the person like bad, good, ugly, beautiful, inappropriate, fat, skinny, stupid, smart, etc.
BUT wait you might ask, “Is it ever okay to judge?”
Of course, sometimes judging can be helpful in making important decisions or discerning how to live our lives.
It is the judgmental attitude that gets us into trouble. This attitude is what Jesus talks about in the Bible. Jesus would call people out for their sins, but at the same time, he would then pull them in as friends. He was descriptive in labeling the behavior and not labeling the person as bad or good.
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7:1-2
We all judge and probably a heck of a lot more than we think. Challenge yourself this week to take inventory of how judgmental you are. It might surprise you. Be sure to keep Jesus in mind using more descriptive words and pull the person in as your friend.
Have you ever been judged unfairly?