“Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged.” Mt. 7:1ff This is one of the most often repeated lessons in the New Testament. It’s one of those lessons we enjoy when we feel judged, but justify away when we are judging.
Think about this for a moment. Modern Christianity is often criticized for being judgmental. Yet, one of the most often repeated lessons in its source of life and faith is do not judge. How did we get this so wrong?
Over the years I have learned people who are critical of others also feel the most criticized. It’s almost like they want to strike first before anyone gets a chance to strike them. In their minds, everyone is ready to strike. It’s an anxiety ridden existence that cannot escape a pervading sense of suspicion.
The thoughts we share, either privately or publicly, often begin to frame how we see the world. If our own thoughts are critical and judgmental, we are more likely to think the rest of the world is just like us. You have the ability to stop judgment by viewing your neighbor’s actions in the best possible light. Or by simply asking yourself, how does this behavior really affect me? If the person in front of you doesn’t use a turn signal when turning, does it really effect you? And, could the person possibly just made a mistake?
I like the interpretation of this scripture found in The Message. It’s a good lesson for today. “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults – unless, of course, you want the same treatment.”