“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7:1-2
Picture this: you’re sitting in a coffee shop reading and just relaxing. A woman walks in and her hair is a beautiful shade of brown and it is in a lovely style. Her makeup compliments her skin and eye color perfectly. Her clothes are impeccable and the style is what you love. She holds her head up high as she walks in to place an order for some drink that has a list of ingredients a mile long and feels to you like the quintessential hipster drink. Can you picture it? Can you feel it in your gut?
Now picture yourself walking in the door. You’re wearing jeans that are a little too big and baggy but they’re comfortable so you love them. Your hair is grey and curly and likely has a curl that looks like it’s trying to escape your head. And to add to the style, you’ve pushed your glasses up on your head so there are about 20 strands caught up in the nose guard, sticking straight up like a lightening rod. Your top is a basic light blue and if you’re lucky, you haven’t spilled anything on it yet. On your feet are your signature hot pink walking shoes. When you walk in to order, you’re looking down at the ground because that’s your typical stance. Can you picture it? Can you feel it in your gut?
The second person in this story is me, it’s what I look like pretty much every single day. I’m overweight, middle-aged, with a comfortable style and when I look at the woman who walked in ahead of me looking amazing, I judge myself and determine that her life is better than mine and that she must have it all figured out because she LOOKS like she has it all figured out. I wish and dream that I could walk in and command attention like she does because I immediately place a value on her that is higher than myself. I also judge her. I determine that she is so far ahead of me that I have nothing to offer her. I don’t really look at her, study her, pray for her because I assume she doesn’t need it. I judge that her life is awesome and yet, I have no idea.
See, I’m a firm believer that judgment has many different faces and all of them are damaging. If I judge that your life is great, I won’t see your pain. If I judge that your life stinks, I won’t see your joy. If I judge that my life is less than, I won’t offer myself. If I judge that I have it more together than you, I won’t love you. Judgment is deadly no matter what facet you are experiencing. Judgment kills our joy, destroys our peace and renders us utterly alone.
Stop judging. Stop comparing. Stop assuming. My outward appearance has nothing to do with the inward condition of my heart. My weight, my hair color, my makeup…none of that makes me a good or bad person. Judgment of myself and of you only chains me to comparison and envy and both of those emotions are deadly. Judgment keeps me from entering in to your story and it keeps me from allowing you to enter in to mine and both of these states create loneliness and hopelessness.
Rewrite the language in your head and heart. The next time you find yourself making a judgment about somebody or yourself, stop and think about why. Am I judging this person because they appear strong in an area where I feel week and therefore I’m envious? Am I judging this person because their style doesn’t match mine? Am I feeling frumpy because I’m comparing myself to the woman next to me? When you have an answer to these questions, be thankful for the insight and ask God to show you how to change your language. We need to be in community with each other everywhere we go and judgment is like a large fence between us.
Unchain yourself from envy and comparison and find freedom in a non-judgmental life. Non-judgmental toward others and yourself. God created you in a fearful and wonderful way and guess what, He created me the same way. It’s time to stand up for the beauty that is within each of us. I need to know that I can be authentic without judgment and you need the same. The next generation needs our example of loving all and judging none.
Live unchained in God’s love, grace, peace and mercy. You are beautiful!
If you would like a prayer partner, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.