Judging others is such hard work

Brenda Cannon HenleyBy Brenda Cannon Henley
Having occasion in the past few days to observe the ugly nature of people judging others from seats of imperfection in their own lives made me really think about this subject. People, and many of them are very educated and kind in certain matters, make judgments about others every day and it is confusing. Are we supposed to judge or are we not to judge?

What does the Bible have to say about this matter? Matthew 7:1-5 is a readily quoted portion of Scripture about judging others. “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with the same judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged, and with what measure ye it shall be measured to you again. And why do you behold thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but consider not the beam that is in your own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, let me pull out the mote out of your eye, and behold the beam in your own eye. Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of your own eye, and then they shall see clearly to cast out the mote out of your brother’s eye.”

This is such an important subject and so many never get it right. I found in a quick study 37 different verses having to do with the serious matter of judging. And, yet, as responsible human beings, we make judgments every day of our lives. We judge what clothes to wear, which car to drive, where we are employed, if a doctor is capable, if a builder can complete the job you pay him to do, and we choose candidates for office. We are also called on to serve on juries and literally judge whether a person is innocent or guilty of the crime before the court. Jesus cautions us not to judge others in a hypocritical way. We tend to focus on the person and not the action that is wrong and it is usually personal. We judge by our own human imitations and it can be very ugly.

One thing I have learned as I have grown older and that is not to be so quick to judge another human being. There may be reasons for what happened that we had no clue about beforehand. God is patient, but he does not overlook disobedience. When we are called on to make a judgment, pray about what we are seeing, hearing, and determining, and let’s not be destructive or uncaring with our words and actions.

Another truth I have learned is that when we judge others in an unbiblical and hypocritical way, we often pay a tremendous price. Mama Cole would say, “God has ways of bringing the chickens home to roost.”

Let me give a short story as illustration of this truth. When we judge and offer unsolicited opinions that don’t concern us, we tend to put ourselves in positions of superiority and authority, and generally, the judgmental person sees himself as beyond reproach and magnified in his own worth.

A young man had a history of being reckless with autos, furniture, clothing, toys, and books, but he had a heart of gold. He, by nature, was a rough and tumble outdoors, football playing, hunting and fishing guy who loved life and enjoyed everything he did. He would help any human or animal. An adult woman in his circle had a history of thinking she was quite a bit better than anyone else in the family, community, or the church group. She said at one point, and got her husband to agree with her, “We really don’t want Joe in our home. He might break something of ours and we have such nice things.” It was a terrible accusation and it hurt the young man and those who loved him. But he took it with typical grain of salt and went on about his plans. The group of young people met elsewhere and had a blast.

The thing that was so sad about the entire judgmental scene was that her own son, whom she thought could do no wrong, was known by almost everyone else involved, to be a heavy drinker to the point of being called a drunk and was experimenting with drugs. He came very close to being removed from his school and employment because of his worsening habits. She couldn’t or wouldn’t see his faults, or those of her other children, but she so quickly and loudly pointed out the faults of the other young person. Within weeks, she came to learn of her own son’s problems and she could not face them. She was literally physically ill because people were judging him too harshly.

Be careful with judgment. It brings great and heavy responsibility for with what you judge, you will be judged.

Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at (409) 781-8788, or


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