When the book unChristian came out several years ago, one of the alarming statistics it contained was that 87% of unbelievers found Christians to be judgmental. For a religion that is meant to be based on love, how did we get such a bad reputation?
I am convinced that what is happening while we are judging another human being is that we begin telling ourselves a story about ourselves with a storyline which ends with us claiming ourselves as superior to be superior to person we are judging. This storyline is a complete fantasy. And, we struggle with this fantasy becausewWe are struggling with our own sense of life, joy, contentment, and so we feel that we have to internally rob someone of theirs. You’d think we might have learned and developed the same mindset as the Apostle Paul, to think of ourselves as we are (nothing more, nothing less) and that of all the sinners, we’re the worst. Maybe this is why the speck in our own eye blinds us.
Anyone who has ever been judged knows how awful it feels. You think we would have learned after being judged that we shouldn’t do that to others. I believe that because we have been judged and had our dignity robbed from us, we judge others to try and get back what we have lost. We must learn the words of Soren Kierkegaard, “A man who as a physical being is always turned toward the outside, thinking that his happiness lies outside him, finally turns inward and discovers that the source is within him.“ If we do not learn this because we look to judge others to gain our source of life, we will continue feeding an ideology of “my life comes from out there“, and we will never discover, as Paul says again, the “Christ in me.” We will never find the God who is life, who gives life, and desires life for all.
It takes a level of humility to come to the understanding that God should be the only judge. Our judgments are always unfair and unjust, whereas, God judges us in love. God judges us with a spirit that is kind, not proud, never boastful, nor irritable, and forgets our wrongs. God judgment does not rejoice in injustice but only in truth. God’s judgment never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures everything. God judges us in this spirit so we don’t have to judge ourselves this way. And, when we learn to receive this judgment, not our own, we can stop judging others with that same cruel spirit. When we learn to receive the love of God, we no longer have to live in this fantasy story that we created for ourselves, and we can learn to love what is, rather than punishing it with our judgments.