“Don’t judge me, but…”
“I like this show, don’t judge me.”
“I won’t judge you for liking that food.”
Why in the world is my age bracket so concerned about judgment?
Maybe it’s because it’s something we want to avoid. We’d prefer to have our own interests, and we’d definitely prefer that others are okay with them. And, ultimately, we feel more secure when others approve of our choices, whether big or small.
Maybe it’s because it’s something we do too often, even without realizing. We scroll through Snapchat, or Facebook, or Twitter, or Instagram, or any other platform, and we make judgments…or misjudgments, because, after all, social media is mainly used to present the best sides of us. There’s almost no room for real-life struggles amidst bright filters and selfies.
We’ve all been in these boats, myself included. But as Christians, the way we view judgment should be drastically different than our peers in the world. We shouldn’t be so hung up on it that it rules our lives and actions. We’re called to be different.
So, how should we as Christian Millennials handle judgment? Let’s take a look at this in three ways.
“Judge not, that you be not judged.”
Matthew 7:1 is one that often comes to mind first whenever we think of judgment. But, like all Scripture, there is truth in it. Look at the following verse: “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you” (Matthew 7:2). The tone of this verse may sound familiar to you based on this one that’s actually just a few verses later: “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12).
So how can we employ this truth in our lives? Consider this: whenever someone you know has sinned, do you judge them? How harshly? And have you been afraid that someone you know would judge you for your sins?
Listen: It starts with you. You control your actions, but you also control your judgment. It’s important to note that you’re called to speak the truth in love when necessary if you’re confronting someone or being confronted (Ephesians 4:14-15). However, if you don’t judge harshly, your fulfilling your end of this commandment outlined in Matthew 7:1-2.
You also control how you react to judgment. Know when to speak the truth in love yourself, or be silent (Proverbs 15:2). Your reaction to someone judging you verbally – especially if it’s unnecessary or even mean-spirited – can speak volumes and can even reflect Christ to those around you.
Speck vs. Plank
Matthew 7:3-5 reads: “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
I think the message is pretty clear: take care of any business you have before addressing someone about theirs. Have you ever started an argument with someone only because you’re angry about another argument with someone else, or addressed why someone has one sin that seems so huge to you while you yourself also have sinned?
It’s better if you examine your own life before getting into the lives of others. Doing so will give you the perspective necessary to offer advice and help those who are going through different situations, similar or otherwise.
God is our Only True Judge
Have you ever heard the expression “only God can judge me?” Often, it’s used flippantly; it’s a way to tell others that you don’t care what they think. But not only is that misguided, it’s taking His name in vain.
Imagine this: God is seated in Heaven, and He is at His judgment seat (Matthew 12:36; Romans 14:10; 2 Corinthians 5:10). How would He respond to you? Also, imagine this: you have the ultimate Attorney, Jesus Christ, who is able to acquit any and all of the “charges” of sin.
Readers, this is how salvation – and, in turn, Jesus’ intercession – works. When you obey the Gospel, God sees only the sacrifice Jesus made for you.
So, yes, only God can judge us – and judgment day is a real thing – but as Christians, we have the free gift of salvation, mercy, and ultimate love from His Son that lets us be with Him for eternity.
At the end of all of this, judgment is a huge deal. We need to remember the implications of not only judging someone, but also the judgment we will receive when Jesus comes again. But, dear readers, we shouldn’t fear: with God on our side, we can have freedom and live faithfully, regardless of what this world thinks of us.
By Savannah Cottrell