Judge Not or Learn These Judging Skills
We judge people every day. We state our judgment (opinion, same thing) on their appearance, their behavior, their choices, their speech and so on. Judging is so commonplace that sometimes we pride ourselves on being good at it, when truly we are all capable of poor judgment.
However, since we must judge, let us apply the proverb, “Whatever is worth doing is worth doing well.” We want to put forth our best effort in judging the men who ask to date our daughters, the women who befriend our brothers, the neighbors who bring gifts for our children, the politician who campaigns for our vote. We judge constantly without being aware.
Here are six great Bible verses quoted from the New Living Translation which will help us improve our judging skills. They're necessary especially for those whose opinion is often sought by trusting relatives and friends.
Judge yourself by the standard you use for others.
(1) Pray for Wisdom
I believe in your commands; now teach me good judgment and knowledge (Psalm 119:66).
What does it say about individuals who pray to God for wisdom (good judgment) before undertaking the task of judging? Rather than develop a sense of self-importance or a know-it-all posture, such persons open up themselves for supernatural input into their mental process.
Since we are faced with the opportunity to judge several times a day, sometimes even caught off guard, it is wise to include this prayer in our daily morning meditations.
(2) Judge Yourself First
Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye (Matthew 7: 5).
Great Illustration in 2.27 Minutes
We have established that we do judge and this verse counsels that our first judgment must be on ourselves. If we are concerned about improving lives how can we evaluate, pass judgment, prepare to discipline others while we cover up our own faults? The Bible commentaries help us further:
- We must judge ourselves, and judge our own acts, and not make our word a law to everybody.
- That which we call a splinter in our brother's eye, true repentance and godly sorrow will teach us to call a beam in our own.
- It would be well, if we would put ourselves in the circumstances of the people we judge; and then consider, what judgment they might choose should others pass judgement on them.
(3) Know and Keep the Law
Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly (James 3:1).
James speaks specifically of church leaders in this verse, but the principle applies also to civic leaders like law enforcers, counselors, school teachers and eventually, to everyone. Those of us who lead in our specialty areas are expected to set an example; and if we mess up, we are criticized more harshly than other offenders. One reason is that we cannot plead ignorance of the law.
Judges offend because of other reasons beside ignorance—reasons like greed, gullibility or even presumption. Individual with known weaknesses set themselves up when they accept positions which put them in place to judge other people. This verse encourages humility and compassion in those who judge, and cautions them not to think of themselves above the law.
(4) Avoid Discrimination
Doesn’t . . . discrimination show that your judgments are guided by evil motives? (James 2: 4)
What do you preconceive about residents in a gated community?
What makes God the perfect judge is that He can see the heart—the real person. Human beings tend to discriminate based on externals, and we transfer what we think of one person we met previously to another person who shares a common feature.
No two individuals are exactly alike, yet we stereotype individuals who wear the same kind of clothes, have the same family name or live in the same neighborhood. We decide where they should sit, what positions they can or cannot have.
With this subscription to opinions based on similar characteristics, we can jeopardize opportunities for some deserving people. Other people may imitate our actions of treating misjudged individuals unfairly. Every person has the individual right to be treated with equal dignity and respect. We cannot let our preconceived ideas stand in the way.
(5) Have All the Facts
Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly (John 7:24).
How much do you need to see before you form an opinion?
Is it ever possible to have all the facts? Perhaps with a ton of effort, but without them, we have reasonable doubt concerning our judgment.
- Do we know the emotional and mental state of the person we are judging?
- Do we know how his value system influenced his action?
- Do we know the scriptural and civic laws governing the situation we’re judging?
We may not even know what to look for and where in the person’s psyche to look. Do not forget that we are fallible. God’s Omniscience makes Him the only qualified judge. If only we could see through His eyes!
(6) Keep a Clear Conscience
Always think carefully before pronouncing judgment. Remember that you do not judge to please people but to please the Lord. ( 2 Chronicles 19:6)
This counsel was given by the Hebrew King Jehoshaphat to newly appointed judges in his kingdom. He further reminded them that God does not like “perverted justice, partiality, or the taking of bribes” (verse 7).
People other than judges on the bench find themselves in positions to make perverted judgments. The corporate boss may fire one employee because of a personal grudge; such judgment is selfish. The product manager may decide on purchasing products from a salesman who gives season tickets to the games; such judgment is crooked.
Wise judgment promotes integrity in the interest of all who are affected by the decision. It leaves the judge with a clear conscience.
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© 2013 Dora Isaac Weithers