Guest Post: Judging Others

by T.J.

Matt 7:1-5 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “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? 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? 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.”

We have a good friend in a heap of trouble right now. I mean, a heap. He’s on a two-week countdown before the sentencing phase of his trial. Two weeks until a court determines how many years a federal prison will separate him from his wife and young children. He’s endured months of media attention. He’s lost his job and his medical license. He moved his family in hopes of safeguarding them from public scorn and talk, and he will face certain deportation from the US after being released in five years or ten years or fifteen years.

So, he’s in trouble. He made some choices just a couple of years ago that will affect his family forever. And the irony is that while these isolated events brought deep and significant and unalterable consequences, his offense was built on a few short-lived actions, not a pattern of behavior. But when our friend was caught, his influence and wealth and prominence solicited for him increased attention and punishment.

It breaks my heart to see this family suffer. It’s unbearable that these impetuous, foolish choices abolished his freedom and access to his kids and wife and life as he knows it. I know he is a man of character, a man of God, and a man who could not love his family any more fully. His wife is sticking by his side.

And yet at dinner just a few nights ago, we sat across the table from another couple who took several jabs at our friend throughout our conversation. Because they are “new” friends to me, I held my tongue. Barely.

The criticism is unbearable. This couple was not hurt in the process of our friend’s crime, not even affected. Just makes for a good laugh, right?

They don’t know that our friend’s parents were among the first missionaries to Thailand and have been serving Christ there for thirty years now. They are unaware that he and his wife persevered to teach their kids at home in a conservative, loving and steady environment. They forget that this man exemplified integrity and consistency and faithfulness. His wife and children and extended family grieve with him and provide incredible support.

At dinner the other night, I felt protective and angry and defensive hearing the ugly comments. Who are these people to gloat in ignorance of another’s situation, to utter harsh gossip against our friend? No situation is one-dimensional. No person deserves another’s scorn.

But here’s the deal. The very thing that angers me – a judgmental attitude – is the same attitude now coursing through my thoughts in regards to these “new” friends. I sense my own judgment seeping out to this couple we ate dinner with, thus continuing the spiral. What to do?

Looking back at Scripture, Jesus’ command is simple: Do not judge, or you too will be judged.

Lord, help me to see others through your eyes, through Holy Spirit-infused lenses. Remind me that you alone are the judge and that you don’t need my help in this area! I love you and trust you, Father.


9 Responses to Guest Post: Judging Others

  1. November 11, 2008 #

    Thank you, TJ. What a perfect example. We are never qualified to judge another person, because we never know the entire story, do we? I guess that’s why we should leave the judging to God, and focus on doing OUR jobs, – loving people.

  2. November 11, 2008 #

    Not judging others is one of the hardest things we are asked to do, I think.

    I’ll pray for strength for your friend, TJ.

  3. November 11, 2008 #

    I agree, this is one of the hardest things.

    I remember when I was a kid/teenager, we would start yackety-yakking about something or somebody, and my mother would finally say something like, “But think how he must feel…” and she would go on to present an entirely empathetic set of possibilities about the situation to the point that I could have cried for the person we had been discussing. I often think back on that and realize what a wonderful example she set for us in helping us to look at things in a better way. She somehow was able to make us feel like that other person for a little bit, and it changed our outlook entirely. I would like to learn to follow her example better.

  4. November 11, 2008 #

    What a wonderful mother you have, Jeanette!

  5. November 11, 2008 #

    R & MOTL – thanks for your comments, for agreeing with the difficulty of not judging – such a clear command from Christ. And J – wow, I love your mom’s way of turning your thoughts. And best of all, you remember it today. Blessings!

  6. November 13, 2008 #

    I read this a few days back, and it has stuck with me. You have a gift for telling stories, TJ.

  7. November 19, 2008 #

    I don’t believe there’s a person alive who hasn’t been guilty of this. Christ has called us to forbear with one another in love. This doesn’t necessarily mean to keep silent. But that when we speak, we speak in love and for the good of all concerned, even the good of the one doing the evil deed at the time. But we cannot do that if we are unforgiving toward them. One thing that will help us to be forbearing and forgiving of another is to remember we have been forgiven of much. He who has been forgiven much, loves much. We have been forgiven of much. We just need to realize that more and more.

  8. November 22, 2008 #

    So wise and so vulnerable. Lord, help me too.

  9. November 23, 2008 #

    I feel my heart pounding and my eyes prickling with tears as I recognize my own sin in your story, T.J. Father, forgive me for trying to take over Your job…and thank you, thank you, that I don’t have to.

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