Who are YOU to Judge?

Who are YOU to judge? Does that sound harsh?  You can read that several ways.  You can read who are YOU to judge – meaning who do you think you are?  Or you could read it “who are you to JUDGE?” – meaning are you qualified to judge?  And then there is “WHO are you to judge?” – as if there are any individuals who deserve your judgment. I think we all have stood in judgment of others at some points in our lives.  I can remember freely judging others – talking about others and criticizing them for how they were handling situations.  Then there came a season in my life where I felt very harshly judged.  People didn’t know the true story.  Assumptions were made.  Gossip flowed freely.  And before anyone knew it – I was being judged and really almost accused of something that could not have been farther from the truth.  That was not a fun time in my life.  It was painful, but it was also very revealing.  I realized that I have no right to judge others.  I should never gossip and form negative opinions of others – when I really do not even know their story.  I should never cause another person to feel that type of pain.   James 4:11-12 says,

“Do not speak evil of one another, brethren.  He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law.  But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.  There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy.  Who are you to judge another?“

The Bible teaches us that there is one Lawgiver – and that He is the ultimate judge. We are simply not qualified for the position.  We are all flawed.  None of us is better than the other.  Yes, we make different mistakes and walk different hard roads.  But the truth is we are all just one mistake away from disaster.  Any of us could find ourselves in a situation to be judged.  Matter of fact, it makes me really nervous when I hear someone judging, criticizing and really coming down hard on someone.  Because -  so often – the ones who are judging – will soon find themselves in the middle of a situation where they are now the one being judged.  Not a fun place to be.

Instead of judging – let’s give each other grace.  God has freely given us grace.  What is grace?  It is the love and the mercy that God gives to us simply because He wants to.  We certainly have not earned it and we do not deserve it.  Yet, He gives us grace – His amazing grace.  When we see someone in a bad place in their life – instead of gossiping and thinking they are worthless.  Let’s remember that God has instilled the same amount of worth and value in them – that He instilled in each of us.  That person needs our prayers – not our judgment.  Grace is a gift to us from God.  It is also a gift we can give to others.  It costs us nothing to extend that gift.  But every time we give that gift away, we receive a gift in return – a blessing – a peace.  Romans 14:19 tells us,

“Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.”

We are not to judge – but to edify.  What does edify mean? The dictionary says to improve the morals or knowledge of somebody.  The Bible says that edify means “to build up”.  We, as believers, are to find ways to build up others – especially those who are in hard places in their lives or who are weak in their beliefs.  How can we do that?  Well, I believe we can offer unconditional love – love with no limits or conditions.  Doesn’t matter what they have done.  We freely offer love and acceptance of them as a person with value.  (That does not mean that we are okay with their sin.  We can hate their sin – yet still love the sinner.)  Next, we can offer grace.  When someone messes up, makes a bad move, finds themselves in a hard situation – give them grace.  Offer forgiveness.  Assume the best.

And lastly, to edify others lets pray with and for others.  What kind of reaction did that just provoke in you?  Do you pray with others?  I can remember a time in my life where I found that to be scary and very awkward.  Then I heard George W. Bush say that instead of telling people he will pray for them – he just stops and prays with them right there.  Do you know the amount of hope that can give someone when they HEAR you pray specifically for them and their situation?  It is powerful and God can use it!  I encourage you to try it.  When you see someone struggling ask, “Can I pray with you?”  When someone calls and shares a situation ask, “Can I pray with you right now?”  I know, I know if that is something you have never done – the thought of it terrifies you.  But…why?  Seriously, what do you have to fear?  You can just keep it simple.  “Lord, I just want to come before you in prayer on Mary’s behalf.  She is hurting and needs you. I know you know the situation. Please Lord, be with Mary.  Thank you Lord. We love you. In Jesus’ most precious name we pray, Amen.”   Try it!  If you do – share with me.  I will be praying for YOU!

“Lord, please be with my friend.  Please be with them as they go through their day and their week.  Lord, help them to love others unconditionally.  Help them to offer people grace.  People - who don’t deserve it – but we know they need it. Help my friend to build others up and encourage them.  Help her/him to have the courage to pray with others offering them hope and trust in you! God you are so good.  Thank you that we can come to you with everything and you will hear us and be with us.  We love you so! In your most precious name we pray. Amen!”

Have a GREAT day!