5 Helpful Practices That Will Give You The Power To Defeat Judgmentalism

Willpower is not enough when it comes to defeating judgmentalism. You can’t “just do it” or “just say no.” Addressing judgmentalism, as dealing with any negative passion, is best dealt with indirectly. By engaging in a related activity you affect the activity that needs addressing. That’s the idea behind counting to 10 when anger arises. It’s not easier per se. However, it’s more effective. 

These practices are only successful if engaged in the grace of God. As you participate in God’s grace while engaging these practices, you will find the ability and diligence to become more loving and less judgmental. 

5 Practices to Help Defeat Judgmentalism

     1. Repent: be constantly turning from your disobedience, lack of love, pride, insolence, scorn, hatred, condescension, disrespect, self-importance, conceit or whatever the sin might be. Bring your mind from these damaging places to Christ by quoting scripture or saying a prayer. End your day with this prayer of repentance:

O Lord our God, if I have sinned in anything this day, in word, or deed, or thought, forgive me all, for You are good and You love mankind. Grant me peaceful and undisturbed sleep, and deliver me from the assault and attack of the evil one. Rouse me at the proper time to glorify You, for blessed are You, together with Your only-begotten Son and Your All-holy Spirit, now and forever, and to the ages of ages. AMEN. 

    2. Give thanks: Here’s a step-by-step process, starting with the easier to the more difficult –  

                  a. try not to complain – catch yourself when you are tempted to gripe about the weather, other’s actions, food, or circumstances.

                  b. give thanks for the good – make it a habit to say “thank you” for the beneficial and beautiful around you, even the small things

                  c. give thanks for all people and things – begin to give thanks for the people and objects that you don’t think are for your benefit

        Recall the story of Jesus’ healing the 10 lepers – all were healed but only a despised Samaritan returned to say “Thank you.” Be the one. Don’t be like the nine. 

    3. Fast: We usually think of fasting related to food. However, you can also fast from speaking. “Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent and discerning if he holds his tongue” (Provers 17.28)

                a. hold your tongue – refuse to be critical; stop giving your opinion on everything. Ask questions instead of your voicing your presumptions or speaking your mind. 

                b. keep silent – you don’t have to say anything

                c. engage restraints on gateways to judging – For example, keep your eyes in check. I know one man who would take off his glasses in certain situations so he couldn’t see clearly, preventing him from thinking judgmental thoughts. How about your ears? Walk away from conversations or stop listening to talk shows that encourage you to be judgmental.  

   4. Slow down:

                a. plan ahead – It’s easier to make off the cuff judgments when in a hurry or panic. 

                b. attend to situations – Be fully present, heart and mind, to people and situations. Your ability to discern properly (vs. being judgmental) will increase. 

                c. monitor your emotions – Be aware of what’s happening within you emotionally. If you sense a stirring within – anger, disgust, fear, contempt – be cautious about acting on the emotion. You may need to. However, pause long enough to make a good judgment. 

    5. Pray: There is not better way to defeat judgmentalism than to be in constant prayer. “Pray without ceasing” is more beneficial than you may think. Continually saying the Jesus Prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner” brings you to Jesus constantly and reminds you of your need of mercy as a sinner. In that state of heart and mind, you will certainly be less judgmental. 

Here’s your assignment. Go to the mall and try out these practices – observe without condemning; attend to situations; give thanks; keep silent; eyes: take off your glasses. Try to make no judgments as you say the Jesus Prayer. Walk around slowly. Struggle with your judgmentalism. OR try this at church next Sunday. See what happens to you.  

Share what you discover below. 

Dr. K 

Looking At The Ultimate Cure For Judgmentalism: The Love Of God

God's Love is the Pearl Of Great Price

The love of God and neighbor is the ultimate cure for judgmentalism. You cannot simultaneously love God while treating people with contempt. Light drives out darkness. Love drives out contempt. Let’s admit it. You and I do not know love very well. We’ve got a long way to go. 

God’s Love is Transforming Action Not Merely A High Ideal 

You cannot think your way into love. True love comes from a Source outside yourself. The Trinity possesses perfect love. Therefore, the love you need for others can only be perfected as you live in the life of the Trinity. Thinking about God’s love affects the mind, which has its benefits. Singing about love may stir emotions but does little to transform your heart. Quoting verses about love allows it to remain a noble concept or high ideal. God’s love is more than that.

When Jesus speaks of love (see Matthew 5-7 and Luke 6.20-49), he places it in the context of action. Love is:

  • showing mercy
  • making peace
  • rejoicing when treated badly
  • reconciling with a brother
  • cutting off what causes you to sin
  • turning the other cheek when attacked
  • giving to the one who asks
  • loving your enemies
  • praying for those who harm you
  • giving to the needy
  • forgiving others
  • fasting in secret
  • serving only God not wealth
  • seeking first God’s kingdom and righteousness
  • doing to others as you wish others would do to you
  • recognizing false teachers
  • doing the will of the Father
  • building your life on living out Jesus’ teachings 

None of us love like that. It is imperative then, that we purify our hearts in repentance and faith, moving steadily into humility and communion with Love so that His love is nurtured within.  

God’s Love Is Nurtured Over Time

St. Symeon the New Theologian (949-1042), provides the image of love taking shape within the soul as a pearl takes form within an oyster. The pearl is not of us but is of heaven, the Trinity. 

Imagine that the love of God is sown in us in just the same ways as they say that the pearl in the open shell is conceived by the dew of heaven and the lightning. When the soul hears of the sufferings of Christ…and little by little believes in them, it opens up in proportion to its faith where, before, it had been closed by unbelief. And, when it has been opened, the love of God, like a kind of heavenly dew which is joined with an ineffable light, falls immaterially on the heart in the guise of lightning and takes the form of a shining pearl. Concerning this pearl, our Lord says that when the merchant had found it, he went off and sold all his belongings and bought it. So too, he who has been deemed worthy of believing…of finding the intelligible pearl of the one of God in himself, does not stop at nearly despising all things and distributing all his belongings to the poor, but allows those who wish even to pillage them in order that he may keep his love for God inviolate and wholly undiminished. (On the Mystical Life: The Ethical Discourses, Volume 2: On Virtue & Christian Life)

Nothing keeps the true believer from pursuing God’s love. 

He continues to describe the perfecting of love and its expression. Into a humble and contrite heart God comes and makes his home, dispersing the passions and filling the heart with the fruit of the Spirit and the revelation of the “abyss of the hidden mysteries of God.” 

Therefore, the primarily “necessity of the Christian is to cultivate repentance, tears, and purity of heart” (p. 101, introductory comments by Alexander Golitzin). More on this thought in my next post. 

The love of God banishes contempt and judgmentalism. Give your life entirely to the love of God and watch your judgments morph into Christlikeness. 

I pray your life and mine will contain “the pearl of great price” nurturing it to grow more beautiful every day. 

How are you nurturing the pearl within? What actions can you take to cultivate God’s love in and through you? 

Dr. K 

If You Read This Post And Don’t Get Offended…You Might Be A Super-Saint

Remember the ol’ Jeff Foxworthy “you might be a redneck” routine? “If you have a complete set of salad bowls and they all say ‘Cool Whip’ on the side…you might be a redneck.” “If your trailer park is hit by a tornado and does $100,000 worth of improvements…you might be a redneck.” Pretty funny stuff. Well, I’m messing with that a bit and presenting some “you might be a super-saint” lines. Fun Friday, I guess. 

If you read the whole KJV One-Year Bible in 6 months…you might be a super-saint. (You’ll have to supply the super-saint phrase for the rest of these.) 

If you pray for a parking spot and find one closest to the door…

If you raise a son who becomes the Sr. pastor of the 10th fastest growing church in America…

If you fast for 40 days and gain 5 pounds…

If you own the MacArthur Study Bible, Ryrie Study Bible, Maxwell Leadership Study Bible, Spirit-Filled Life Study Bible, Jeremiah Study Bible, Scofield Study Bible, Life Application Study Bible, Apologetics Study Bible, Archeology Study Bible, Fire Study Bible, Reformation Study Bible, Student & Teen Study Bible, NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, Every Man’s Study Bible, ESV Study Bible, Woman’s Study Bible, AND the King James Version (no study notes)… 

If you know your guardian angel’s first name…

If your knees are calloused from hours spent on them…

If you sponsor not 1 but 7 children with World Vision…

If you took a theology class at Wheaton and the prof asked you to guest lecture…

If a tornado hits your neighborhood and your house is the only one standing…

If you know Kurt Cameron personally…

If you can sing all four parts to the Hallelujah Chorus…

If you stay in Las Vegas for a weekend and never gamble…

If you can name 5 major Protestant reformers and what country they lived in…

If you’ve had your KJV for 6 months and it’s already falling apart…

If you have the preacher over for dinner twice in one month…

If you find a $10 bill on the sidewalk when you’re hungry… 

If you read Dostoevsky’s The Brother’s Karamazov all the way through in 2 months…

If you have an autographed picture of Tim Tebow and use it as an icon…

If you know verses 4, 6, & 8 of O God, Our Help in Ages Past (1719) and can sing them by heart…

If you pass by a street preacher in downtown St. Louis and are not embarrassed…

If you’ve read the 1000 page Hendrickson version of Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion and enjoyed it…

If you mash your thumb with a 32 oz claw hammer and start singing Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow

If you regularly dream of walking an English garden hearing the sounds of angel’s singing…

If you’ve had a vision of heaven and yet were not involved in an accident when it happened…

If you can quote the 23rd Psalm in Hebrew having never studied the language…

If you can quote the 23rd Psalm at all…

If you’ve done every Bible study by Beth Moore and have pre-ordered her next one…

If you put a Bible verse on Facebook everyday to encourage your 672 friends…

If you are able to list the Gospel Coalition’s top 10 False Teachers of 2016…

If you can size up a person’s problems and know the solution having never talked to them…

If you raise $5.3 million to buy your ministry a Gulfstream jet…

If you listen to praise music more than 6 hours a day…

If you know the meaning of the Greek word koinonia and help other people to know the meaning too…

If God talks to you audibly as you eat your Rice Krispies every morning…

If you know the guaranteed secret to rearing godly children and write a book on it…

If you know the first name of every show host on Moody Radio…

If you can speak in tongues in 5 different languages…

If you go to church every time the doors are open…

If you can live in this culture and not be affected by it whatsoever…

…you might be a super-saint. 

Dr. K

Helping You Be Able To Judge More Clearly

For The Humble, Discerning, and Honest Person

I often get upset at myself whenever I pass judgment on another person. Should I get just as upset whenever I pass judgment on myself? I remember a tennis instructor pointing this out to me. He said, “You shouldn’t yell at your opponent or partner when they mess up. So, why do you yell at yourself when you mess up?” I’d never thought about that before. Is there a place for self-examination without self-condemnation in all this “judgment” talk? 

When you “judge” yourself, you need to understand this as “self-audit” not self-condemnation. It is the ability to assess your own “junk” for what it really is. It’s more like discernment. Whether sin, unwise action, false belief, or a dominating passion, you see clearly your own issue. And, seeing it clearly, you deal with it in a manner appropriate to the issue.

Paul, John & Jesus on Judging 

1. St. Paul does not “judge” (condemn) himself leaving any kind of  “judgment” to God (1 Corinthians 4.1-5). To pass this kind of self-condemning judgment is to assume God’s authority. Paul will have no part in that.

2. It is best and wise to “judge” (discern) yourself now or face God’s judgment (discipline) later (1 Corinthians 11.29-31). This is to be done as one prepares to receive the body and blood of Christ. However, it is a good practice always.   

St. John Chrysostom (349-407), Archbishop of Constantinople and important Early Church Father, writes:     

Instead of passing idly by what are considered slight sins, let us daily require an account of ourselves, for words and glances, and execute sentence upon ourselves so as to be free from punishment later. This is the reason Paul said, “If we judge ourselves, we would not be judged.” Thus, if we judge ourselves for our sins everyday here, we shall preclude the severity of the judgment in that other place. But if we should be remiss, we shall be judged and chastised by the Lord. So, let us take the initiative in passing sentence upon ourselves with all good will, holding the court of conscience unbeknown to anyone. Let us examine our own thoughts and determine a proper verdict so that through fear of imminent punishment our mind may forebear to be dragged down and instead may check its impulses and by keeping in view that unsleeping eye, may ward off the devil’s advances. 

Who wants to know the reality of their own sins and faults? The person who’d rather face them now than face them at judgment time. Now or later. It’s really up to you. 

3. Jesus instructs us to discern and remove the plank (log) in our own eye before attempting to deal with the speck in another’s eye (Matthew 7.3-5, Luke 6.41-42). Our efforts of discernment need to focus on our own hearts not on the hearts of others. (Wow! Did I just write that? That is contrary to almost everything I’ve done in ministry.) 

That’s why this Orthodox prayer used during Great Lent is so beneficial to the soul:

O Lord and Master of my life, give me not a spirit of sloth, idle curiosity, love of power, and useless chatter. Rather, accord to me Your servant a spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love. Yes, Lord and King, grant that I may see my own faults and not condemn my brother, for blessed are You forever and ever. AMEN. 

So, a good place to start in discerning your own sins and weaknesses, is to ask God to reveal them to you. Yikes! Crazy, huh?!?

Are You One of These? 

From this we learn who will learn to discern their own “junk“ — 

  1. The humble person who doesn’t play God. 
  2. The discerning person who is open and unafraid to see themselves for who they really are. 
  3. The honest person who doesn’t want anything (including his/her own self-delusions) to hinder any relationship. 

You and I are invited into the “non-judgmental” zone on the journey.

I hear it’s a beautiful place. 

Dr. K 

3 Practical Ways To Become Free From Judgmentalism

Jesus Knows Best

Today, I want to keep exploring ways to help defeat judgmentalism. It’s an ugly cancer that needs to be cut out of our lives. What’s the procedure? 

Jesus’ practical instruction, recorded in Luke 6.37-38, provides us with some insights for dealing with judgmentalism. 

Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.

Since it is almost impossible not to judge, start with what IS possible — 

1. Don’t condemn – this is more doable than not judging. How do you not condemn? 

          Begin by:

        a) not hating – Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness…whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes (1 John 1.9-11). As a Christian you are in the light. Act like it by not hating anyone. If you hate anyone, you cannot see right. Hate is an intense or passionate dislike or aversion for someone or something. There is no gray area here. The Father of mercy, love, kindness, and goodness does not have children characterized by hatred. If you struggle with hatred, keep repenting and confessing this sin until you are free from it. 

        b) not labeling people – Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt… (Colossians 4.5-6). Train yourself to hold your tongue when wanting to call someone a name – “jerk,” “stupid,” “clueless,” “idiot,” “loser,” or a derogatory slur of any kind. Start by not labelling yourself. Monitor your words as you drive. Take a hard look at the words that come to mind when someone acts contrary to you. Instead, thank God for them. After all, that “knuckle head” is teaching you not to judge. Name calling has become so common we don’t even think about it. Think about it! 

2. Forgive – this is a little more difficult. Forgiveness takes on many forms. But, a good description of forgiveness is “to release the emotional damage in our hearts for what a person has done.” The condemnation you feel towards a person may be an indication of a lack of forgiveness towards them or towards another person who is similar to them. An excellent book on forgiveness is Total Forgiveness by R.T. Kendall. If you struggle with forgiveness, you will struggle with judgmentalism. Say the Lord’s prayer – “…forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us…” – throughout the day. See what changes this will bring. 

3. Give – this may be even more difficult. Move from not hating/labeling through forgiveness to something positive for the one you want to condemn. This step is crucial to defeating judgmentalism in your life. Act contrary to your initial reaction. Apply the “Golden Rule” here: whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them. Open the door for her. Let him go ahead of you in line. Give him $5. Smile, pray for or offer to help the woman trying to quiet her screaming child. Empty the dishwasher in love. Serve your wife before serving yourself. Give thanks for your wayward child or noisy neighbor. In other words, do something positive for the person you want to judge.  

Review

  1. Stop yourself from saying something negative about the person you would ordinarily judge.
  2. Privately forgive the person (or someone similar) you would ordinarily judge. 
  3. Do something positively tangible for the person you might ordinarily judge. 

There’s more coming. But this is a good place to start. 

How will you apply these practical instructions to your own judgmentalism? Share below. 

Dr. K 

7 Reasons To Refrain From Judging Others

Knowing Someone Curbs Your Judgment of Them

At our men’s prayer breakfast I sat across the table from Jim, a bothersome old man who never seemed to “get it.” He was so full of himself that most conversations left me frustrated and annoyed. But, today was different. He started telling me about himself – his story – struggles, marriage problems, children, and hardships. For the first time, I felt compassion for Jim instead of falsely labeling him according to my perceptions. 

Reasons To Call it Quits On Judging Others

  1. You do not know what is actually happening inside another person. There are dozens of issues swimming around in every person’s mind and heart. Do not presume you can label them accurately. 
  2. More specifically, every person is in a battle, struggling inwardly with fear, doubt, passions, and difficulties. The outside may look serene but there’s always a war raging inwardly. Refrain from judging them based only on what you can see. 
  3. Every person behaves out of past wounds, brokenness, or pain. There are foundational reasons for a person’s behavior. This is no excuse for their wrong behavior. But, since you are wounded and broken as well, don’t be quick to assume your assessment of them is right. 
  4. You do not know their story and therefore have little understanding of them – stories wreck our ability to judge, label, or dismiss someone. When you hear someone’s story they are no longer an object or idea; they become human.
  5. You see as you are not as they are. Your judgments say more about you than the other person. Your judgments are clouded by your faults, prejudices, pride, false ideas, and brokenness. You shouldn’t be judging anyone. You’re not qualified.  
  6. You do not know where God has them on their journey. It’s true, “God is not finished with me yet.” Leave room for God’s work in another’s life. You only see a minuscule, limited slice of their life. God sees the big picture for them. Trust Him. 
  7. You do not want to put your self in the place of God – judgment is His. It is so hard not to play God, isn’t it? It’s dangerous business to size someone up thinking you really know what’s going on or who they are. Leave that to God. You are not Him. 

Empathy vs Judgmentalism 

Rather than be judgmental, be empathetic. 

Author Stephen Covey experienced this on a subway one morning. There was a father whose kids were jumping around like maniacs. Few things drive other parents crazy as quickly as an inattentive parent and out-of-control kids. Finally, Covey pointed out that the kids were out of control. The dad, in a detached kind of way looked up and said, “Oh, you’re right, I guess I should do something about it. We just came from the hospital where their mother died an hour ago. I don’t know what to think, and I guess they don’t know how to handle it either.” Knowing that changed Covey’s ability to be empathetic and give that father what he needed in that moment: compassion. (from Do Over, Jon Acuff, p. 181) 

Take time to get to know people as they really are. Your compassion will increase. Your judgmentalism will decrease. 

Author Jon Acuff has a “secret” to empathy: believe that everyone is the same. The people you see everyday have the same hopes, fears, dreams, and frustrations as you do. They express them differently, but that doesn’t mean they are all that different from you. 

I think that’s good advice. 

Do you have a story of changing a judgment into empathy? Share below. 

Dr. K 

I Really Want To Pray For You But I Need Your Help

When I was a pastor, people would often come to me with their problems. I’d tell them I’d pray for them. Sometimes I’d forget. OMG! Not good. Have you ever done that?

Have you ever said you’d pray for someone, did it once, but never again. “Well, at least I did what I said I would.” Not much better. 

What if someone said they’d pray for you and actually did it? Over and over. Daily. That’s what I’m talking about. 

In the weeks leading up to Easter, the Church has traditionally emphasized three practices – fasting, prayer, and almsgiving. Fasting gets much of the attention since it is so challenging and teaches us so much. I struggle along with everyone else. Almsgiving is a newer practice that is gently becoming more a part of my life. 

But, prayer…wow! What can I say? I’m one fortunate guy. Prayer has been a gift God has given me; one I’ve tried to open and live into with my whole heart. Seriously, I really don’t want to sound proud or pious. This is not something I’ve done for myself. My whole life is not prayer as a monastic’s would be. Yet, I’ve got the opportunity of a lifetime to learn to commune with God all day long in the chaos of every day life. I’m not very good at it, but at least I’ve got the opportunity and am giving it a good shot. 

So, what’s the deal? Here it is: For the next 8 weeks I am committing to pray specifically for you — if you will let me know that’s something you want me to do.

I already pray for you in a general sense – “Lord, have mercy on every person who reads The UnCommmon Journey.” But, I am committing to move my prayer for you to another level…only if you’ll let me know. 

I will mention you and/or the person you want me to pray for. By name. Every day.

You can let me know of specific needs or just give me a name. You don’t have to give me detailed background. Just a name will do. You don’t even have to tell me how you relate to them. A name will do. OK? 

First name. Last name. “Pet” name. Secret name. It doesn’t matter. No imaginary names, please. 🙂 

You can send the name(s) to [email protected] or use the “comment” section below. I promise not to share the name(s) you give on the blog. I will not allow readers to see the name in the comment section. (I have a way of controlling what is seen in the comment section.) This is just between you and me. 

Please send me the name(s), info, etc. this week since I want to begin praying for you ASAP. 

There are a lot of things I can’t do in ministry anymore. But the one thing I can do is pray. 

I offer this for you!! Take advantage of it. No strings attached. It’s free. All it costs you is a name or names. 

Dr. K 

Taking a Brief Look At Discernment In Order To Battle Judgmentalism

Toward a Better Understanding of Making Judgments

There is a difference between being judgmental and being discerning. Some might like you to believe they are the same. They are not. Let’s focus on discernment. 

Definitions & Descriptions 

Discernment – the quality of being able to grasp and comprehend what is obscure (Merriam-Webster); the ability to judge well; a keenness of insight and judgment. 

Discernment is a word describing a wise way of judging between things or a particularly perceptive way of seeing things.  

McIntosh’s Five Aspects of Discernment 

There is much more to discernment than understanding its meaning. Mark A. McIntosh in his book Discernment and Truth: The Spirituality and Theology of Knowledge highlights five aspects or phases of discernment.

  1. Discernment as faith: spiritual discernment as grounded in a loving and trusting relationship with God
  2. Discernment as distinguishing between good and evil impulses that move people
  3. Discernment as discretion, practical wisdom, moderation and generally good sense about what to do in given practical situations
  4. Discernment as sensitivity to and desire to pursue God’s will in all things
  5. Discernment as illumination, contemplative wisdom, a noetic relationship with God that irradiate and facilitates knowledge of every kind of truth. 

I appreciate McIntosh’s efforts to provide a clearer picture of discernment. It is tempting to dump our own understanding of making judgments into one simplistic term. I have been guilty of this often. The struggle to use meaningful words to describe thoughts is challenging.

McIntosh’s distinctions help clear up some confusion about “judging well,” “judgmentalism,” “discretion,” “knowledge,” “wisdom,” and “discernment.”  

Two Points 

1. There are people who believe they possess the ability to make good judgments (speak for God) since:

  • they have the gift of discernment 
  • their experiences of God make them an expert on God 
  • they have had such a lengthy relationship with God that they know him better than others
  • they have been trained to understand scripture enabling them to speak on God’s behalf 
  • they have a degree or certification indicating their discernment skills

These folk’s ability to “discern” may fall into one or more of McIntosh’s categories. However, understanding that there are people who fit into category #5, I’ve never met one. You probably haven’t either. You’ve probably met people who think they are there. Hang with them a while. Their true colors will show.

2. There is great difference between judgmentalism and discernment. Don’t let anyone convince you that you must be judgmental to be a good Christian. You need to be discerning, yes. Judgmental, no. The line between the two may look thin. But a judgmental person makes judgments poorly. A discerning person makes judgments well. You just need to learn to not be one and be the other. I use the word “be” intentionally. To “be” a person who judges well, the heart and mind is being healed and transformed by the life of the Trinity as you live in union with God through a deepening relationship with the Church, the company of the saints, scripture, and real-life spiritual athletes. 

A judgmental person lacks true discernment. Jesus was never judgmental yet was always discerning. Be like Jesus.

How are you developing discernment? Share your thoughts below.

Dr. K  

Judgmentalism: The (Not So) Acceptable Sin

"Judge Not!" For Those Seriously Concerned About Judging Others

Now that Boyd had been brought to repentance in the mysterious events of Tuesday morning, he decided to revisit the Matthew 7 passage and study it more deeply. He noticed, since Tuesday, that his perspective on other people seemed different. His knee-jerk reactions had been affected. He was slower to label people. He felt kinder to everyone. By default, he still enjoyed name-calling though the names had a harder time escaping his lips. That’s why he thought he needed to look again at the passage that was a catalyst in all this – Matthew 7.1-5. He decided to do this early Saturday morning while Angie and the kids were still sleeping. The battle was on! 

Boyd got out of bed, dressed, made coffee, poured a cup, and settled into his favorite chair with his ESV and a legal pad. “Lord, something is going on. Please help me in this battle. I’m open to whatever you want me to experience and do. Lord, have mercy!” And then he read: 

Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. 

Boyd took out the legal pad and started writing as he meditated on the passage: 

  • This commandment is literally impossible to do. I cannot not judge. So, the idea of judgmentalism must be different than the right kind of judgment. What’s the difference between discernment and judgmentalism? 
  • God is a judge. Jesus will judge someday though he did not come to the earth to condemn. How do I relate to that? 
  • It seems Jesus is teaching that the motivation to not judge is the judgments that come on me from others. If I want people to stop judging me then I must stop judging them. I can’t control their judgments but I can control mine. Begin there! 
  • Judging others breeds judgmentalism. I may make matters worse when I think I’m helping. Lord, have mercy!!
  • Jesus teaches me to notice the log in my own eye first. The command to “Judge not” is not for others to stop judging me; its for me to stop judging others.  
  • What I think is a matter worth judging in someone else’s life is just a speck compared to the tree trunk in my life. Good grief! What business do I have of ever trying to figure out what needs to be corrected in someone else when I’m so screwed up? 
  • I am a hypocrite when I judge others since my sin is greater than theirs. I don’t want to be a hypocrite!!! Is Jesus teaching that my sin of judgmentalism is greater than any sin I might see in others?  Whoa! 
  • “first take the log out of your own eye” – my priority is to get the tree trunk out of my own life. Period! At this point, I’m not going to concern myself with the speck in my brother’s eye. Obviously, I can’t see clearly until the log is gone anyway. And, it’s going to take a long time to rid myself of this piece of timber in me. Perhaps, if the log is removed from my eye I’ll see clearly that there is no speck in my brother’s eye at all. I’ll figure that out later. For now, my own log! 

Here’s some action items (this is where it gets tough): 

  1. Start with spending time with Jesus. He’s the only one I know who is not judgmental. I need to learn from him. Get up 15 minutes earlier. 
  2. Ask forgiveness of Angie and the kids for my unfair judgments on each of them. Ask them to pray for me. Anyone else? People at church, friends, co-workers? I need to look around and see who I’ve judged unfairly. (Umm…I’m using the phrase “unfair judgments” – what is that about?)
  3. Start praying for those I’d usually judge. How about “Lord, have mercy on ________” whenever I’d usually level them with the 4×6 sticking out of my head. 
  4. Can I say “thank you” for them, too? I’ll try. 

He ends his session with a tear-filled prayer pleading for God’s help, wisdom, grace, and strength. He expects the battle to be long and difficult. He must persevere in repentance and faith.

How do you relate to what Boyd wrote? Share your thoughts below. 

Dr. K