On Being Totally Nonjudgmental
By Donnie McKinney c 2003
I believe Jesus when he said there were only two rules. He said to love God with all your heart, mind and soul, and to love you neighbor as yourself. I interpret that to mean that we are to have unconditional love and be totally nonjudgmental. Neither of those is possible on a human level. We can only allow God to express these attributes through us.
Beth Moore, in her study Living Beyond Yourself, made this clear to me. Judgment is the opposite of patience. Moore said, "Patience is the release of the fruit of the Spirit; it is the supernatural outcome of being filled with the Holy Spirit. [This kind of patience] is impossible except when expressed by God through us." I thought that I could just decide to be nonjudgmental. I couldn't.
The Greek word that this kind of patience comes from is makrothumia (long-suffering toward others inspired by mercy). The opposite of makrothumia is krino, which means "to pass judgment upon, condemn, take vengeance on." It means to try someone as if they stand accused before you in a court of law. This makes it clearer why patience and judgment are opposites: the essence of the biblical word for "patience" is the delaying of judgment.
The bible points out an abundance of good reasons not to judge others. The first six are shown in Romans 2:1-5.
- When we judge others, we cause God to be harder on us. "At whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself." We invite the discipline of God.
- We do many of the same things we condemn in others. For example, we are quick to judge sexual sin; yet few of us have not transgressed in at least some area of sexual sin. If not physically, mentally. We often sit on the judgment seat as if to determine and compare degrees of sin. Judgment bears hypocrisy.
- We do not know the whole truth. "God's judgment . . . is based on truth." We may think we have "all the facts," but we are incapable of reading minds or judging hearts.
- We are mere humans. "So when you, a mere man . . ." Isaiah 29:16 expounds upon the temptation to switch roles with God: "You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay!" We must withstand all temptation to assume God's job!
- When we judge others, we are judging God. Our judgment reveals contempt for the riches of God's patience. To judge why God won't bring a speedy punishment to those who mock or despise Him is not our responsibility. To all of us, His long-suffering has been our salvation. Eternity is a long time; the effects are irreversible. God desires to give every chance for the sinner to say "yes." Dr. Adrian Rogers said, "Time is not nearly as important to God as timing."
- God's judgment is always righteous. Ours is tainted by the flesh. "When his righteous judgment will be revealed." Our judgment of others is colored by our attitudes, our pasts, our personalities and our positions. Only God is the perfectly righteous Judge.
We find even more reasons not to judge others in Matthew 7:1-5.
- We risk application of the same type of judgment to ourselves. Do we want the same lack of mercy we've dispensed because of our own personalities or pasts to be dispensed to us?
- We cannot judge the speck of sawdust in another's eye because of the planks in our own. We can't judge righteously because our sight is hindered by our own sin..
James 4:11-12 adds a couple of new reasons why we don't need to judge others.
- "There is only one lawgiver and judge." There is simply no room on the bench. Only He has the right to judge the infraction and punish the offender.
- Only God has noble purpose in His judgment. We judge to make ourselves feel righteous in comparison. Whether or not the thought is conscious, most judgments boil down to this justification: "At least I don't do that!" God's judgment is not based on His "ego." It is a practical action by which He determines the fate of all humanity.
The last reason is shown to us in John 8:14-18.
- Just like Christ's, our judgment would have to be completely consistent with God's. He must agree with us for our judgment to be valid. We judge by "human standards," and therefore, possess little heavenly perspective. To make a valid judgment, the second testimony cannot be our best friend or neighbor . . . it must be God.
Note: Most of the above is copied right out of Living Beyond Yourself, by Beth Moore, Copyright 1998, Lifeway Press.
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