We live in such a critical age. Why is it so deeply ingrained in us to make ourselves the standard by which we evaluate other people? I think the answer to that question lies in our self-centered default. If we are the centre of our lives, we evaluate others by the filter of our self. The more full of myself I am, the more I become God’s gift to the world that everyone should endeavor to be like.
The Bible clearly says there is a time to judge and I would call that accountability. To call each other, in the family of God, to account for our actions that don’t reflect God’s. As in 1 Corinthians 5:12–13: when a person, claiming to follow Jesus, goes on sinning as if they have no relationship with Christ, that person is to be called to account, or “judged.” However, that judging is for specific and obvious outward sin.
This is not the kind of criticalness or judging I am speaking about here. I am referring to people who seem to spend their time and emotional energy comparing people. They are often frustrated by others. You know those people who just seem to find something wrong with almost everyone? You are not emotionally safe with these people, because at some point, they also will find something wrong with you. They always seem to know the “truth” for everyone and are rarely transparent and self-reflective.
The standard for everyone is themselves. They have come to value certain ways of being and expect that the rest of the world should too. These are usually high-capacity people and leaders who do make great contributions to an organization, but this also comes at a cost. Their way is the way. We tiptoe around these folks, just like we do with porcupines. They usually have one way of seeing the world, and you are “blessed” if you fit into it. Against such “judging” there is a multitude of scripture. One, in particular, I see everyday at the coffee bar in our office:
“Since God chose you to be the Holy people He loves, you must cloth yourself with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive anyone who offends you.”
Can you imagine what could happen in a family, organization, church or even nation that enculturated that passage? Like, really … how incredible would that be?! Everyday would feel like we were hanging out with Jesus — which I think is the idea.