"Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned." -Luke 6:37
Have you ever felt judged? It's not the best feeling. Sometimes, with even the best of intentions, we fall short in being Christ-like in this area. We feel we have a right to proclaim God's justice to the world, and to other believers. The world already tends to think of Christians as judgmental - but we are supposed to be known for Christ's love, healing, and grace. How sad!
Mother Teresa once said, "If you judge people, you have no time to love them." The even more dangerous part of this is that we open ourselves up to judgment if we aren't careful. The enemy has a legal right to us if we've judged others. Once we make these types of accusations, even in our minds, we are left open to attack. We are found to have holes in our spiritual armor.
"Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?" -Romans 2:4
The challenging part of refraining from judgment is when we have been personally hurt or wronged. We develop an attitude about a person due to the issue. We have to go through the process of forgiveness in order to release the person from judgment in our hearts.
When we are tempted to judge, we should instead go to a place of prayer and blessing. When we are tempted to point out a wrong over a point of disagreement, we should instead find points of encouragement. Encouragement promotes possibility and potential, while judgment finds places of wrongdoing and shame. In a culture that is saturated with fear and shame, judgment often makes us focus on "not messing up" versus the new opportunity in Jesus to begin again. "..if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life thinking it's stupid." -Albert Einstein
The Bible says that people are drawn by God's goodness. (Romans 2:4) Are there any judgments in your heart that could keep you from ministering the goodness of His gospel? This is often the greatest blockage for God to use us - judgments against unbelievers, ourselves, or other believers. All of us are guilty of judgment - but when we do, are we able to see it and repent? I pray that we will all be sensitive to avoiding judgment so that God can use each of us mightily in His kingdom.
Related resource: The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz