By Krystal Kuehn, MA, LPC, LLP, NCC
If you judge people, you have no time to love them.
Instead of unconditionally accepting people for who they are, why do we judge them? There are many reasons we all fall into this trap. Let us look at just a few. We might judge others because:
>They are different from us.
>They do not agree with us.
>We do not like them.
>They hurt us or offended us.
>We feel rejected, accused, or insulted.
>We expect or look for the worst in them.
>We are angry at them.
>We want to hurt them or get them back.
Sometimes we are quick to judge or form an opinion about others when we do not really know them or their motives. We condemn them before we know the facts or truth about a matter. How often we make quick judgments!
We cannot be truly happy and fulfilled when we judge, criticize, or hate people. We do not have to agree with them or like their ways. We do not have to allow the hurt they may have caused to bring out the worst in us. I love this quote by Booker T. Washington. He said: I will permit no man to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him. Is that what we sometimes do when we judge others—allow our souls to be narrowed and degraded by choosing to hate them?
This powerful quote brings up a great point. It reminds us that we have the power to choose how we will respond to others. It is far too easy to judge and criticize the person instead of the behavior. If we will distinguish between the two, we will be less likely to judge others and more likely to have proper respect and love for all people.
I’d like to share a classic story with you about making quick judgments. Nathan the prophet was sent by God to King David to tell him this story: There were 2 men in a certain town. One was rich and one was poor. The rich man owned a great many sheep and cattle. The poor man owned nothing but one little lamb he had bought. He raised that little lamb, and it grew up with his children. It ate from the man’s own plate, and drank from his cup. He cuddled it in his arms like a baby daughter. One day a guest arrived at the home of the rich man. But instead of killing an animal from his own flock or herd, He took the poor man’s lamb and killed it and prepared it for his guest.
Now, after David heard this, he was furious. As surely as the Lord lives, he vowed, any man who would do such a thing deserves to die! He must repay 4 lambs to the poor man for the one he stole and for having no pity. Then Nathan said to David, “You are that man!” (2 Samuel 12)
You see, King David had many wives, but he wanted Bathsheba—the only wife of Uriah. After committing adultery with her, she became pregnant. David then arranged for Uriah’s death, thinking he would never be found out. That is, until he was confronted by Nathan. David was quick to cast judgment on the rich man in the story and condemn him to death.
How quickly we can find fault with others and pronounce our judgment upon them without seeing our own faults or dealing with our own problems. When confronted, David saw himself for who he was. He made no excuses. And at that point he knew he had no right to judge anyone but himself.
We are all guilty of judging and condemning others at times. But we can be encouraged because when we work on bettering ourselves, we spend less time judging others, trying to fix them or change them. We have plenty of work to do on ourselves if we want to be our best. And we can do it when our focus is one being the best that we can be.
I encourage you to look for the best in others & to bring out the best in yourself!
People judge by outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.
1 Samuel 16:7