8 Signs of a Judgmental Spirit and How to Overcome It
No Biblical phrase has been more overused (or abused). Was Jesus actually saying we should have no discernment? What actually DID He mean and how do we steer clear of breaking His commandment?
Remember that the Sermon on the Mount, where this was spoken, was written primarily to correct the false religion of the Pharisees.
What are the 8 signs of judgmentalism and how do we overcome it in our own lives?
1. When we exercise an authority over people that we do not possess.
- Christ set shepherds in the church to discern false prophets, false brethren, and open sin against God’s Word (1 Cor. 5). We, as members of a congregation, are called to “submit to one another,” not “judge one another.”
- If we are not in that office, we don’t have that authority. We do not possess the “gift of suspicion.”
2. When we treat suspicions or rumors as facts.
- Judgmentalism puts OPINIONS ahead of the FACTS. We must make a full, patient investigation of a matter to obtain clear proof.
- Even God “came down to see” the tower of Babel and the wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah before He poured out His judgment.
3. When we presume to know the motives of people’s actions.
- Anyone can judge actions. It is obvious. The problem comes when we decide we know the “Why?” to their actions.
- Only God knows a person’s motives. He will judge everyone (including us) at the Judgment Seat of Christ to reveal our true motives.
4. When we are quick to detect minor faults in others while being blind to our own graver sins.
- Judgmentalism is two-faced. “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things” (Rom. 2:1).
5. When we judge about things that are not clearly spelled out in Scripture.
- God’s Word is perfect and does not need you to add to it your own condemnation.
6. When we ignore everything favorable about a person and fixate only on the unfavorable.
- Judgment cannot become “personal.” It has to be based on “principle” and not “prejudice.” Any juror with a personal relationship to a defendant is disqualified.
- When it becomes “personal,” our desire is to condemn a person rather than get rid of the evil in a person.
7. When we spread our wrong conclusions to others as a “talebearer.”
- This is going crazy in social media right now! People are sounding off on social media with only a fraction of the facts. When they later hear the whole truth, they make no effort to go back and inform their “followers.” Dangerous stuff.
8. When we pronounce final judgment on a person.
- Only God can do that. We may judge their actions but still cannot judge the person themselves.
Here are three ways to stay free from a judgmental spirit:
1. Remember that you will be judged in eternity by the exact standard you used on other people. “He who usurps the BENCH, will be called to the BAR” (Matthew Henry).
2. Be sure to search your own eye for a “log” before you try to delicately remove the “splinter” from your brother’s eye. Keep your heart pure and remember that eye surgery is very delicate!
3. Don’t give your judgment before you are sure the person wants and respects it. “Do not throw your pearls before pigs."
God, help us to "reprove, rebuke, and correct" without a spirit of judgmentalism.