Our first impression of others begins the minute another person comes in our line of vision. We size them up, giving them a character we think they play in a story of our imaginations. The closer they get to us, we justify the story. As soon as they begin to talk, even in a quick surface level encounter, we assume and clarify in our minds who they are without asking for or hearing any details by them. We humans, both believers and non believers of God, excel in this trait. Satan love using this skill for his destruction. These first thoughts are precursors to judging in full force without judging ourselves first.
When people respond once, close to the way we imagined they would, it solidifies our judging. “See I told you they were like that!” In all out, pro level judging of others, there is no mercy, no consideration of growth or change in a person, they just are who we think they are and it never or rarely changes. How sad…for us who judge.
Woah, is that how we really think? Be honest.
How can we “judge not” as Jesus teaches?
What will help us to “assume not” in our daily thinking and first impressions?
The world teaches us that we are number one. When we think like the world we judge everything as bad. We give no one a break, hate in all kinds of ways, and walk in fear of the unknown. We show no mercy and extend no grace.
But Jesus says…
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
6 “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.
WHAT DO WE LEARN?
We are not fit to assume in others what we wouldn’t want others to assume about us. Judging, says Jesus, boomerangs on us! So,
STOP, CEASE AND DESIST!
Don’t judge until you have first judged your own thoughts and actions. Why? We will be judged in the same way we judge. Judging others first sabotages our growing to be like Christ!
GO DEEPER…WHAT JESUS REALLY MEANS
The first principle of judgment is that we begin with ourselves. Jesus did not forbid us to judge others, for careful discrimination is essential in the Christian life. Christian love is not blind (Phil. 1:9–10). The person who believes all that he hears and accepts everyone who claims to be spiritual will experience confusion and great spiritual loss.
But before we judge others, we must judge ourselves. There are several reasons for this. We shall be judged (v. 1). The tense of the verb judged signifies a once-for-all final judgment. If we first judge ourselves, then we are preparing for that final judgment when we face God.
The Pharisees “played God” as they condemned other people, but they never considered that God would one day judge them. Not only will God judge us at the end, but people are also judging us right now, and we receive from people exactly what we give. The kind of judgment, and the measure of judgment, comes right back to us. We reap what we have sown.
We must see clearly to help others (vv. 3–5). The purpose of self-judgment is to prepare us to serve others. Christians are obligated to help each other grow in grace. When we do not judge ourselves, we not only hurt ourselves, but we also hurt those to whom we could minister.
The Pharisees judged and criticized others to make themselves look good (Luke 18:9–14). But Christians should judge themselves so that they can help others look good. There is a difference!
After we have judged ourselves honestly before God, and have removed those things that blind us, then we can help others and properly judge their works. But if we know there are sins in our lives, and we try to help others, we are hypocrites. In fact, it is possible for ministry to be a device to cover up sin! The Pharisees were guilty of this, and Jesus denounced them for it.
KNOW GOD, KNOW HIS MESSAGE, KNOW YOURSELF, KNOW OTHERS
The reason for judgment, then, is not that we might condemn others, but that we might be able to minister to them. Notice that Jesus always dealt with individuals according to their needs and their spiritual condition. He did not have a memorized speech that He used with everybody.He discussed the new birth with Nicodemus, but He spoke of living water to the Samaritan woman. When the religious leaders tried to trap Him, He refused to answer their question (Matt. 21:23–27). It is a wise Christian who first assesses the condition of a person’s heart before sharing the precious pearls.
This is a go to Jesus moment where we repent, saying we’re sorry for judging others without cleaning up our own behavior first. We ask for help to think like He thinks with unconditional love, extreme mercy with great, incredible grace so we can join Him in the work of helping others find and follow Him, too.
Holy Father, dear Jesus,
Help our first thoughts be love for you and others. Help us to see each others through your eyes. Help us to see ourselves first through your eyes. You are God and we are not. So, may your Holy Spirit in us guide us in power to see Your truth so we can see truth in others. Set us free from all inclinations to judge each other or assume we know who others are and what they are thinking. Judging is too heavy a burden to bear and reserved ultimately for you. Thank you for showing us how to love mercy, think the best not the worst, to encourage, to walk humbly with you and to do what is right by thinking right thoughts.
In Jesus Name, Amen
“O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what He requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8, NLT