Jesus had some interesting things to say to us when it comes to our natural tendency to judge our fellow humans. Who is it that you have been judging lately? Is it your spouse for not being a spiritual leader? Is it your boss for being greedy by not giving you the bonus you deserve? Could it be your pastor for driving a new car? Perhaps it is your coworker who never seems to do her job. We even judge our neighbors for not taking care of their yard.
Every day we face judgmental attitudes. People are constantly judging usand our tendency is to judge back in defense of ourselves. That's why whenJesus tells us not to judge; it's like telling someone like me not to eat chocolate. Aftergaining five pounds this past year, I made a commitment to only have one desserta day. (Now you know where the five pounds came from.) It didn'teven occur to me when a chocolate cake was brought to me after dinner that Ihad already indulged in some ice cream earlier that afternoon. Consumingchocolate offered to me is as natural for me as breathing. I didn't thinkabout it; I just did it. I'm that same way about judging. It comesnatural for me to judge others and unnatural for me to judge myself.
Just the other morning I was out to breakfast with my husband. This wasa rare occasion and I wanted to enjoy the eggs and bacon and good conversation. Therewas a problem. We were seated by a woman and her three children under fivewho seemed quite discontent with their chance for early morning conversationover breakfast. Add to that the fact that her frequent requests from thewaitress we shared seemed to affect the promptness of the service we received.
I was getting a little agitated and became quite judgmental. I beganto question why a woman would be so selfish for a taste of someone else's cookingto force her children out of the house and down to breakfast at such an hourand spoil my experience. Just like consuming chocolate, I was judging herwithout even knowing I was doing it. The moment I realized I was judgingher was when I overheard her say to her children, "Now I think I can stayawake long enough to get us home safely." It was at that point thatI felt ashamed of myself for being so hard on this poor woman who had probablybeen driving all through the night alone with three children under five. Underthose conditions, her children were perfect angels. I even felt moved totell them so. I smiled at the woman I had been secretly critiquing andcommented on how cute her children were.
Jesus knows that instructing us not to judge needs motivation. Every timeyou think of judging someone think about the fact that you will be judged inthe same way. The measure you use will be used against you. If that'snot a good enough warning, think about this: when you judge another person Godsees you as if you have a great big plank in your eye while you are commentingon the speck in your brother's eye. Next time you catch yourself beingjudgmental, do what Jesus advises; "You hypocrite, first take the plankout of your own eyes, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck fromyour brother's eye." (Matthew 7:5) The urge to judge, and plank removalneed to go hand in hand. Do you have some plank removal to do today?