I sometimes judge people and sometimes I judge people who judge people
This is a fascinating one for me. Most people judge in some capacity, but it plays out very different for prodigals and pharisees. You wouldn’t know that by watching me though because, once again – I manage to display symptoms of both.
Pharisees judge people. A lot. and I don’t mean the kind of judgment that’s biblical where you lovingly call a believing friend out on Sin. I mean the kind where you look at someone you don’t know or do know and think you’re better than them in some way. Once my day starts, my mind can judge at a rate of 90 people per minute. It’s impressive. Even in traffic I judge the guy who cuts me off, and I judge the guy that I cut off. Again, impressive.
Then there’s the prodigal. The prodigal judges those who judge. The prodigal waits for you to say something that sounds like judgement and then judges you for saying it. The prodigal stays away from church sometimes because of all the ‘judgemental’ people – judging those who judge to the detriment of their spiritual development.
The prodigal in me judges people who judge. I get all self-righteous when I hear others judging and I like to point out al their sin, judging them the whole time. Blick.
What’s the antidote for judgement? Gosh – you tell me! I’m looking for a quick fix! To date the best thing I’ve found is the Gospel. Preaching and teaching myself the Gospel each day. Truely believing and fighting to believe that I am no better than anyone else; repenting for all the areas I believe that I am somehow better or above a certain sin or a way of thinking. Then, as I am comforted by the grace of the Cross in those moments, I pray to comfort others with the comfort that I have received. By God’s grace, that will free me up to tell the judgers in my life the great news that through the Gospel we no longer have to judge or be judged by others.
That’s great news because it sets me free from this fear I have deep down. My judgement illuminates my fear that it’s what I do that makes me worthy. I guard against this fear by clinging to the hope that I’m better than someone else in some way; judging them so that I can feel secure and unthreatened. I put my hope in my ‘betterness’, obliterating the need for repentance and dependence on Christ. Ultimatley, at the heart of judgement is jealousy, insecurity or coveting.
And the good news of the Gospel is that God is well pleased to call me His child. And this, not because of my own works or my own ‘betterness’ but this as a gift He freely extends to anyone. His blood is not only thick enough to cover my sin, it is deep enough to cover the sins of those who would turn to Christ – and those who have turned to Christ: the judged and the judgers. Praise Jesus.