I wonder how often I’ve rolled my eyes at someone behind their back or called them an idiot, moron, or worse when they couldn’t hear me. How many times have I judged someone because they weren’t doing or living how I think they should be?
Shamefully, I would have to say, way more than I can count. How about you? Could you keep track of all the times you’ve thought less of someone or judged someone because they didn’t measure up to your standard? I’m guessing we’re in the same boat here. It’s a flaw we all share.
That’s why Jesus said, “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.” (Matthew 4:11-12)
In his wisdom, Jesus knew our human propensity for slander, gossip, malice and pride. So, he simply says, don’t do it, or it will come back to bite you.
The Bible says you are not to “speak evil of each other… if you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God’s law.” (James 4:11-12)
To speak evil of someone is a serious issue. It means to have malicious intent and to attack someone’s good name. In other words, you’re placing yourself above them by talking down about them. In short, you’re judging them when only God’s word can do that without bias.
Next time, before you let your mouth or thoughts run to judgment, remember that you are to “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” If you follow Jesus, slander has no place in your life. Instead, you are to “be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32) When you treat others this way, you’re acting how God wants you to act as his representative.
But “If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.” (James 1:26)
Don’t let your faith be worthless. Instead, “be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” (Romans 12:10)
When you devote yourself to loving others, even those people who annoy you and get under your skin, you’re acting like Jesus. He loved you when you were seriously unlovable. He loved you to his death.
How much more should you love others? I think we all have some work to do on this one. But with God’s help, we can do it.
Zachary Elliott is the lead pastor of Fusion Christian Church in Temecula. For more information, visit www.fusionchristianchurch.com, www.encouragementtoday.tv or find them on Instagram.