The judging game

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I take notice today that there are actually two sides to judging: there is judging, and there is being judged. Both are important and both are something we should be without. We don’t talk very much about the second one, but it may be harder to get rid of than the first.

Being judged may be hard to get rid of because it can happen to you without it happening. In other words, you may feel judged even though no one is judging you.

Quite often, the reason we feel judged is because we are judging others instead of ourselves.

Actually, these two are inextricably tied to each other. We judge others for what we are guilty of ourselves. It’s how we try to get rid of our guilt — find someone who is “more guilty” than we are so we can feel better about ourselves without having to actually face our sin. The very fact that you are judging someone almost always means you are guilty of the same thing, otherwise you wouldn’t see it in them. That’s why Jesus told us not to judge unless we want to be judged by the same judgment with which we judge, because they are one and the same thing.

The guy who screams out against pornography is obviously someone who has a pornography problem, otherwise he wouldn’t be so mad about it. When preachers rail against something it is almost always because they are covering their own guilt. It’s a vicious cycle — feeling guilty, judging others for what we are guilty of, and finally, feeling judged by those who may not even be judging us at all. All of this can happen wrapped up inside your own head.

How do you get rid of all this and stop playing these games?  The answer to that is found in 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” By coming clean, admitting our own sin, confessing it to the Lord and to others, especially those we have sinned against and those we have judged, our whole view changes. As far as judging goes, we’ve already come to grips with our own sin. Based on that, everyone else looks pretty good. And as far as being judged goes, we have already been judged and been forgiven, so it’s all about grace now — grace for ourselves and grace turned outwards to everyone else. That’s all that’s left — sinners saved by grace.

Step away from the judging game and cover yourselves with the grace of God.

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5 Responses to The judging game

  1. CAROLE OGLESBEE says:

    It’s a see-saw, John. we judge and we lift ourselves up. We’re judged, we come crashing down because we are on the SAME BOARD. I guess that plank in the other fellow’s eye can hurt just as much when it’s under our rears.

  2. John A Fagliano says:

    A few things I’ve noticed about my own judgments and those of others: We judge for the most selfish reasons. We’re less likely to judge the pimp who beats up a teen prostitute than the noisy neighbor or the lazy co-worker. That’s because their sins inconvenience us personally while those who do great harm to others but not ourselves don’t occupy our minds as much. Another thing is our judgments have a tendency to strip others of their humanity. I often regret things I’ve done or said. I wish I could go back in time and change them. Judging someone means never thinking they might be human enough to have regrets or doubts about their own behavior. In our own minds, they become monsters incapable of remorse. That is not realistic.

    It’s our doubts and struggles as humans which should unite us, not divide us. But first, we need to come clean about our own struggles and doubts and that’s a humbling thing to do. Judging leeds us away from humility and that’s why it’s forbidden.

  3. Patricia Saunders says:

    Although there is truth in some of your basic points, there is also some dangerous untruths. You’re right. It is too frequently true that we judge others because of our own sin and guilt in that area, but when you state, “The guy who screams out against pornography is obviously someone who has a pornography problem, otherwise he wouldn’t be so mad about it.” or “When preachers rail against something it is almost always because they are covering their own guilt” . . . . Wow! No. It could be true, but it could also be true that the “guy” is screaming out against pornography because he’s seen the damage it does to those close to him or those around him or in society, in general. Same with the “railing” preacher. It could be true, but it could also be true he’s railing about something because he’s seen the agony and damage that something has done in the lives of those close to him or those around him or in society, in general.
    Such wide-sweeping statements do more to cause false judgment of the guy screaming out or the preacher railing than to cause someone to look at himself. Your point must stick to the personal, not pointing a finger at nebulous “others” and pushing your judgment of them.

  4. James says:

    As Paul said in Romans 2:2
    You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.

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