"As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." -Ephesians 4:1-3
As human beings, we are naturally wired to make assessments about things. We like to make up our minds about things or people; we like categorizing and putting things into boxes. "She sounds like a singer I like," we may say, or, "He reminds me of 'so and so'."
But the problem arises when we make negative assessments (judgments) about people, institutions, churches, businesses, or whatever it may be. When our judgment becomes a protection mechanism, that's when we need to be careful.
There was one person very close to me in my life that I kept on judging. I didn't know I was doing it until someone revealed it to me. I was continually defensive as I expected them to respond a certain way, or do certain things. Even if my judgments were true, they were controlling me! My judgments turned into self-protective anger.
Sometimes it is good to make an assessment of a situation, to know if it is something or someone we should or should not be involved with. But when we judge people, places, or institutions, we bring this same judgment upon ourselves. God's word says it! "For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." -Matthew 7:2 That's why we need to work hard to be gentle and forgiving, and to "keep the bond of peace." This doesn't mean just in our physical reality - it means in our hearts.
Is there anyone or any situation you need to let go of today? Our judgments can keep us in bondage. Let the Holy Spirit set you free today.