TO CHEW ON: "But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ." Romans 14:10
The urge within us to judge others is insidious and strong. That tendency may be stronger in some personality types than others. If we're perfectionists and hard on ourselves, we may be hard on others too.
What need does judging others fill? Why does judging make us feel so good?
It does give us a sense of moral superiority: I'm better than you because I don't do this or I do that. In this way it feeds our ego, the human side of us that wants attention and praise—not something God approves of in the first place. And judging has a lot of other hazards too.
To clarify what kind of judging we're talking about, in Romans 14 Paul addresses a specific kind of judging, i.e. Christians judging each other in non-essentials of the faith—food preferences, the behavior of each others servants, which day to observe - Romans 14:1-6. There is a place for Christians to judge the conduct of fellow believers in essentials—albeit very carefully and within guidelines - Matthew 18:15; Galatians 6:1.
So we're talking about Christians judging each other on non-essentials. When we do that:
- We're revealing that we may have tendencies to commit the faults we're judging in others. The very fact we're aware of another's faults in a certain area is probably a tip-off that we struggle with the same thing (and probably sometimes fall) - Romans 2:1.
- We're meddling in things that are none of our business. Like the food or servant issue for the Romans, when we're critical of the way fellow Christians keep their homes, or how they raise their kids, or generally live their lives, we have no idea how they got that way or what life is like for them behind the scenes - Romans 14:1-6.
- We're setting ourselves up to be similarly judged - Matthew 7:1.
- Our critical, judgmental attitude toward our Christian brother may keep non-Christians from coming to Christ—especially if our moral superiority extends to us judging them - Romans 14:13.
- We don't have all the facts. We don't know enough to judge others fairly. We are to leave judging to God - 1 Corinthians 4:5; James 4:12.
PRAYER: Dear God, help me to be alert to when I'm being critical and judgmental, even in my thoughts. Please remind me to stop and leave the judging to You. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.