Judgmentalism: The (Not So) Acceptable Sin

Keith KettenringBible Insights, Christian Living, The Uncommon Journey

Now that Boyd had been brought to repentance in the mysterious events of Tuesday morning, he decided to revisit the Matthew 7 passage and study it more deeply. He noticed, since Tuesday, that his perspective on other people seemed different. His knee-jerk reactions had been affected. He was slower to label people. He felt kinder to everyone. By default, he still enjoyed name-calling though the names had a harder time escaping his lips. That’s why he thought he needed to look again at the passage that was a catalyst in all this – Matthew 7.1-5. He decided to do this early Saturday morning while Angie and the kids were still sleeping. The battle was on! 

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Boyd got out of bed, dressed, made coffee, poured a cup, and settled into his favorite chair with his ESV and a legal pad. “Lord, something is going on. Please help me in this battle. I’m open to whatever you want me to experience and do. Lord, have mercy!” And then he read: 

Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. 

Boyd took out the legal pad and started writing as he meditated on the passage: 

  • This commandment is literally impossible to do. I cannot not judge. So, the idea of judgmentalism must be different than the right kind of judgment. What’s the difference between discernment and judgmentalism? 
  • God is a judge. Jesus will judge someday though he did not come to the earth to condemn. How do I relate to that? 
  • It seems Jesus is teaching that the motivation to not judge is the judgments that come on me from others. If I want people to stop judging me then I must stop judging them. I can’t control their judgments but I can control mine. Begin there! 
  • Judging others breeds judgmentalism. I may make matters worse when I think I’m helping. Lord, have mercy!!
  • Jesus teaches me to notice the log in my own eye first. The command to “Judge not” is not for others to stop judging me; its for me to stop judging others.  
  • What I think is a matter worth judging in someone else’s life is just a speck compared to the tree trunk in my life. Good grief! What business do I have of ever trying to figure out what needs to be corrected in someone else when I’m so screwed up? 
  • I am a hypocrite when I judge others since my sin is greater than theirs. I don’t want to be a hypocrite!!! Is Jesus teaching that my sin of judgmentalism is greater than any sin I might see in others?  Whoa! 
  • “first take the log out of your own eye” – my priority is to get the tree trunk out of my own life. Period! At this point, I’m not going to concern myself with the speck in my brother’s eye. Obviously, I can’t see clearly until the log is gone anyway. And, it’s going to take a long time to rid myself of this piece of timber in me. Perhaps, if the log is removed from my eye I’ll see clearly that there is no speck in my brother’s eye at all. I’ll figure that out later. For now, my own log! 

Here’s some action items (this is where it gets tough): 

  1. Start with spending time with Jesus. He’s the only one I know who is not judgmental. I need to learn from him. Get up 15 minutes earlier. 
  2. Ask forgiveness of Angie and the kids for my unfair judgments on each of them. Ask them to pray for me. Anyone else? People at church, friends, co-workers? I need to look around and see who I’ve judged unfairly. (Umm…I’m using the phrase “unfair judgments” – what is that about?)
  3. Start praying for those I’d usually judge. How about “Lord, have mercy on ________” whenever I’d usually level them with the 4×6 sticking out of my head. 
  4. Can I say “thank you” for them, too? I’ll try. 

He ends his session with a tear-filled prayer pleading for God’s help, wisdom, grace, and strength. He expects the battle to be long and difficult. He must persevere in repentance and faith.

How do you relate to what Boyd wrote? Share your thoughts below. 

Dr. K