Standing in judgement over other people is one of the most simultaneously natural and unnatural things we do in life. It is natural– or perhaps I should say, instinctive– because the desire to judge others goes back to the original sin described in the book of Genesis. It is unnatural all at the same time, as the ability to stand in judgement over others was the one thing God drew a boundary around and said, “do not eat from this tree.”
Yet, we do it– and we love doing it. Some get life out of it, and find judging others to be addictive– spiraling into a life lived constantly measuring others, declaring who is good, who is bad, and what they need to do to fix themselves.
None of us are immune from this. Sadly, as Christians we are often best known for our judgmental attitudes instead of our self-sacrificial love of others– something I’d love to see change in the generation to come. In the end, I think learning to stop judging others is in the best interest of everyone, and every relationship. So, here’s 5 reasons why you might want to stop judging others:
5. You suck at judging others.
As I have mentioned before (an idea that comes from Greg Boyd’s influence), we do not have all of the information we need in order to rightly judge anyone. Every single time we pronounce judgment over some one else, we do it with so little information that any possibility of judging rightly would likely be a random coincidence.
Let’s say you have a neighbor who is a drug addict. While one can say that drug addiction is self-destructive, and harmful in many ways, we are not in a personal position to judge a person because of our limited knowledge. Do we know how much of their addiction was a genetic disposition? Do we know whether or not they grew up watching drug abuse modeled for them, until it became natural? Do we know the depths of their emotional or physical pain that they might be medicating? Of course not! But in order to judge rightly, one would need perfect knowledge of all of those factors– and only God has access to that information.
So if you’re not good at it, why keep doing it?
4. God forbids judging others.
Jesus directly stated that Christians are forbidden from standing in judgment over another person. But there’s a good reason behind that prohibition: it’s God’s job– and exclusively God’s job.
God is the only entity with all the knowledge necessary to judge rightly. Each time we judge another person, we usurp God’s authority and take it for ourselves. Whether we intend to or not, when we judge others we are declaring that we are far better quipped to do God’s unique job, than is God. It is an act of idolatry and rebellion, however unintended.
If it’s God’s job, why not just leave it to God?
3. Judging others is making you miserable.
While we all quite instinctively judge others, when a judgmental disposition goes unchecked to the point a person becomes habitually judgmental, such a person becomes utterly miserable. Just like the drug addict who needs the drug, but hates how the drug makes them feel later, so too does judging others leave us in a perpetual state of dissatisfaction– until we can find another reason to judge someone.
Judgmental people are the most unhappy people you’ll ever encounter in life, because judgement is something you crave to consume but doesn’t fill or nourish you the way you hope it will.
If it’s a poison and not a cure, why keep consuming it?
2. Judging others makes the people around you miserable.
Habitually judgmental people have a hard time judging silently in their heart. Perhaps they did at first, but like an increasing tolerance to a drug, they grow to have a need to share their judgments with as many people as possible in hopes others will join them– thus increasing the intoxication.
Some do join them, and become addicted and miserable themselves. Others resist joining, but still grow miserable simply from listening to the litany of negative or uncharitable judgments of others.
If it’s something that doesn’t just make you unhappy, but makes everyone around you unhappy, why not consider resisting judging all together?
1. Judging others makes it impossible to love them.
Our key purpose for existing is to reflect the love of God to others, but it is impossible to love someone while you are also judging them. We are to love our neighbors. We are to love our enemies. We are to love so big and love so much that people point to us and say, “That person is so loving! They must be a disciple of Jesus.”
Judgment is the opposite of love. It is what thwarts love. It’s what breaks love down. Judgment is the enemy of love, and cannot coexist where love truly resides.
Thus, we have to pick one: do we walk around loving and serving? Or do we walk around our lives judging and condemning? You have to pick– because you can’t do both at the same time.
God has invited us to partner together to bring a restoration of the beautiful shalom that existed in the beginning. In that partnership however, there are certain roles that belong to us, and some that belong uniquely to God. Our role is to love others with the same type of self-sacrificial love that Christ displayed on Calvary– the role of judge is one that falls to God, and only to God.
When we usurp that divine order and boundaries, we make the world a little more broken instead of a little more right.
You really need to do a little reading rather than grabbing slogans… you say God says do not judge… but for get the context and the other times Jesus speaks directly on how to judge….. If you really believe we should not ever judge then adultery, child port, rape, murder, domestic violence and stealing is all OK with you as long as the person doing the act believes they are OK. Jesus in Matthew is talking about hypocritical judgements…. you will be judge the same… judge adultery as wrong.. better not do it…. you will be judged the same. In other do not judge lines it is concerning the heart, not the action… or eternity…which Paul says he can’t even judge on himself.
Do we not judge against the 10 commandments? If not why have them? If is love to stand back and watch someone sin and cost themselves their salvation? if you were standing next to me and noticed me stepping off the curb right in front of a car would you try and hold me back or let me go thinking I might want to get hit? How can you judge ? Jesus is reminding us to be JUST and Merciful when we judge.
Of course Jesus can’t contradict himself so it he prohibited all judging why say this to us? Why did his Apostles speak of judging?
James 5:19-20: My brethren, if any one among you wanders from the truth and some one brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
Ez. 3:18-19: If I say to the wicked, “You shall surely die,” and you give him no
warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way… that wicked
man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand.
Christian calling to admonish the sinner.
I Tim. 4:16: Take heed to yourself and to your teaching; hold to that, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.
If Your Brother Sins Against You
 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him
his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have
gained your brother.  But if he does not listen,
take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be
established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.  If
he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses
to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax
 Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him,  and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”
Jesus shows that is in not loving to sit back and watch someone sin. We are charged with gently correcting with love and always speaking the truth. That doesn’t mean a daily beat down but it you column is fiction concerning Jesus and judging others sins (with the heart to help them sin no more…). context is everything… those with an agenda can pull lines to support almost anything.
So why judge and condemn Christians who do not agree with your views? You might want to include John 7:24 in your thoughts.
Is it judging to say that Mike Pence is a dangerous homophobe?
“Pence opposed the 2009 Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act, saying that President Obama just wanted to “advance a radical social agenda.” He also opposed efforts to expand the definition of a hate crime to include the victim’s sexual orientation, saying that a sermon condemning gay sex could be considered hate speech under the legislation. “This will have a chilling effect on religious expression, from the pulpits, in our temples, in our mosques and in our churches,” he said. “And it must be undone.””
Wonderful, I assume then that you will no longer be writing blog posts with titles like “You Can’t Be Christian If You’re Not Caring For The Poor”, and “The Disgusting Hypocrisy of the Anti-Trans Bathroom Movement”. Judgement right from the get go there.
How about quotes like
While I want to be charitable with my assumptions, in this case that means I’m just going to have to assume that something must be wrong, and that you’re just not thinking clearly. Because all the other options? Well, those options would far less charitable. – from “5 Serious Questions I Have For Christians Who Support Donald Trump”
Thus, Jesus could never win the American Evangelical vote, because too many powerful Evangelical leaders would hate the names Jesus called them during his sermons. – from “10 Reasons Jesus Would Never Win The American Evangelical Vote”
I for one am very much looking forward to the new loving and self sacrificial tone you will be using when discussing Franklin Graham and non-pacifist Christians.
Seriously, how can you not “judge” this?
Sometimes (but not all that often!) I wish that there was a scrap of logic, reason or evidence that any of the gods and/or god-men existed and I could meet one (or more) of them in some fantastical (but totally improbable) “afterlife”.
Boy would it/they have some difficult questions to answer and some awful incompetence and diabolically barbaric acts to attempt to excuse!
Thank goodness no such abominable supernatural or magical entities exist as their existence would indicate that there is only unmitigated evil, cruelty and barbarity behind “life, the universe and everything”.
With the ever more rapid decline in religiosity all across the western world it appears that fewer and ever fewer of us have any truck with all that superstition any longer as fewer than 17% of Americans now attend any church service and fewer than 6% of Europeans worship at any of the diverse businesses of religion that remain fleecing and deluding the feeble minded and the gullible.
Maybe one reason I read Benjamin’s blog is because he is one of the most judgmental bloggers I subscribe to. I agree with some of his judgments and I disagree with some of his other judgments upon others. In any case, I keep reading.
Gotta say this is one of the most helpful admonishments I have ever received. Although on the outside I appear to be a very focused Christian I am full of judgment and worse than that perceive that I am being judged harshly. This posting of Bens was a real blessing
Ben whilst I agree with the general sentiments of this post, I do not think you can come to the conclusion that God forbids Christians from judging others, full stop. It is not as simple as that. But I suppose it depends on what you mean by ‘judge’. Is judgement not part of, for example, church discipline? Or do you not believe that is valid? The impression I get from Jesus’ words and the rest of the NT, is that Christians are at liberty to ‘judge’ other Christians, ie if you judge that a brother or sister are behaving totally inappropriately, you are free to take it up with them. In the example of the incestuous relationship being allowed in the Corinthian church, there is little doubt that the church pronounces judgement on that individual and is ultimately excommunicated. Im assuming he was given the opportunity to repent, but refused. It seems one of the reasons why he was treated thus was partly because of the notoriety that church would have in the community, allowing behaviour that many unbelievers would not have tolerated, and the fact that such behaviour, if not condemned, could easily lead to others in the church behaving similarly inappropriately. Indeed, in Revelation, Jesus Himself warns one of the churches not to tolerate ‘that woman Jezebel’ who was leading believers into sexual immorality. It seems obvious ‘judgement’ is part of ‘not tolerating’.
It is, however, a different matter when it comes to non-Christians. If they do not know Jesus, we cannot expect them to fully recognise their own sinfulness and bad behaviour, though of course everyone has a sense of morality. But it should also not be forgotten that at some point in the future, it seems according to Paul that believers will be assisting Jesus in judging ‘the world’.