The Devastation of Judgmentalism

Judgment versus Discernment

Sometimes, the word judgment is used in the positive sense – as in “good judgment”. I equate good judgment with the ability to discern the truth and make healthy decisions.

Then there’s the negative connotation of judgment – also known as judgmentalism. The complete verse carries that connotation.

“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.” Matthew 7:1-2

God’s rules

God has a lot to say in the Bible. Some of the “rules” seem to make sense, but I don’t understand others.

For example, the dietary laws in the Old Testament. Don’t eat this. But this other food is allowed. But when I think about that time in history, people didn’t know about germs and diseases. God gave those directions so people could be healthy and safe.

God has the same intention with the direction about not judging.

Am I the only one?

For a long time, I interpreted this verse to mean that if I was judgmental, I was the ONLY one who would suffer the consequences. And the consequences would be in line with the judgments I had made of others.

I’ve certainly been shamed and judged for who I was – or wasn’t. Told I wasn’t pretty enough or thin enough or athletic enough or fun-loving enough or smart enough. “Not enough” based on whatever standard the person was using.

In too many instances, I believed the criticism. And it inundated and corroded my self-esteem and confidence.

When I let myself contemplate it, the damage is spirit-crushing and mind-blowing. And to admit how much of my life I wasted in believing the lies is even more painful.

God’s purpose in creating humans

I believe God created humans because He wants a relationship with every one of them.

All of God’s actions since He created humans prove that His goal is to draw every human to Himself. To love and cherish and give them the message of how precious they are to Him. And that He wants every single person to spend eternity with Him.

IF:
— That is God’s purpose

AND:

— “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

THEN:

— I was created to speak and act in a way that shows God wants to have a loving relationship with everyone for eternity.

No, I’m not the only one

But I’m not the only one who suffers the consequences if I choose to judge.

Another reason God doesn’t want me to judge, is because my discernment can turn into judgmentalism very quickly and easily. And my words and actions heap condemnation on others.

This happens sometimes even if I don’t mean to, or even realize it.

Thoughts run in my head all day long. I make large and small decisions constantly. Assessing each moment and determining what to do about whatever is going on. An instantaneous thought driven by a lifetime of experiences. A thought that can be destructive to me and others.

I’m not perfect, and I never will be on this side of heaven. I wish I was. I wish I could go through the rest of my life and never think or do anything that would harm others or myself. Or God.

So I do my best to ask God to direct my thinking and actions.

But as a Christian, when I condemn others with my words and actions, I inadvertently proclaim to the world that God also condemns. After all, I say I belong to Him and have His spirit within me.

And the lie that God has the negative qualities I display can keep others from seeking and finding out who God really is.

“For God did NOT send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” John 3:17

How do I keep from judging?

When I realize my judgmentalism has hurt others, I cry. Because I truly want to show people the love that originates from God.

Then I ask God to forgive me. And pray that He will heal the damage I’ve caused.

And lastly, I ask Him to help me show the world who He is.

So He can draw every person He created to Himself.

And they can be with Him for eternity.

What do you do to avoid being judgmental?

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Joni Vance is an award-winning author of fiction, essay, and poetry. She loves mystery, history, and how God reveals Himself every day.


May God reveal the mystery of His love in your life story.

6 thoughts on “The Devastation of Judgmentalism

  1. By focusing on improving myself and obeying scripture such as 1 Thess. 4:11… to work on living a quiet life, minding my own business, and working hard.

  2. Thanks for the reminder Joni. I’m hit or miss on this. What I sometimes try to do and often miss is 1. Put my self in the person I’m judging’s shoes (as best I can), 2. Try to remember to approach how I am judging any situation through the lens of Christ’s love, and 3. Try not to judge based on the surface of what is going on because I don’t always know the situation. I appreciate this post.

  3. Kristy Sheridan

    Beautiful reminder of Jesus’ command to us and that we are to love, rather than judge. Thank you for this.

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