“Judge not, that ye be not judged”–Matt. 7:1
This is one of the most misunderstood verses in the Bible. Many have used it to ward-off any criticism of their sins and to avoid standing against the sins of others. If they would simply study the rest of the chapter, and the Bible, they would see that it is not only right to make certain judgements regarding others, but also a responsibility to do so. But others error in the opposite direction. They violate the command altogether. They are guilty of judging others presumptuously, hypocritically, hastily, or unmercifully–the very thing forbidden by the command. So in out effort to defend truth and denounce sin, we must be careful that we ourselves do not become law-breakers.
Great men examine themselves regularly so as to conform to God’s ways. Those of lesser character judge others rather than themselves. While it is sometimes our right to make judgements regarding others, far too many people do it without any justification. If you are among that number you have reason to fear– your sin shall be judged. Unless I miss my guess, we are guilty of this more than we know. We might not make an issue of it, but we draw conclusions about people when we have no right to do so; and, although it might not affect anyone else, it will affect you. It will cause you to think less highly of them than you should and sometimes will even lead to bitterness.
One of the problems with this is that we don’t have all the facts. Some people appear to be less dedicated than others, even backslidden, when they’re not. From your vantage point it seems they are unfaithful or not as committed as you, but you don’t see the big picture, nor know the whole story. If you knew all the facts you might look at them with admiration, rather than disrespect. Just because a person doesn’t tell you about their problems it doesn’t mean they don’t have any. Some folks are every tight-lipped about their personal life. I know people who have cancer and other diseases that limit what they can do, and they refuse to make it public knowledge. Others are struggling with domestic issues that you will probably never know about—and don’t need to know about. These folks are as “faithful” as possible under the circumstances–although it doesn’t appear that way to you. The fact is you don’t need all the facts in every case– you aren’t the judge. Neither am I, and believe me–that takes a load off. I don’t need to know every situation, address every issue, correct every problem, and change every person. I have more than enough faults of my own without looking for them in others. Stop making unnecessary judgments about others and you will be surprised how much more you will enjoy life–as will others. Your problem just might be that you you don’t have a serious enough problem of your own to be sympathetic toward others. You haven’t experienced enough pain to know how to be understanding and helpful— and you won’t get better until you get worse. Like the old Indian said, “Never criticize a man until you‘ve walked a mile in his moccasins”. Think about it!