Imagine a world where no judgments were made. Parents would be putting their children in constant danger of making harmful decisions for themselves and others. Bad bosses and employees would go unchecked. Obvious criminal activity would run rampant without consequence. Making judgments is something that everyone must do for there to be any semblance of law, order, and human flourishing in life. So, what does Jesus mean when he says, ‘do not judge?’
Jesus warns against being critical and reaching conclusions without first giving people the benefit of the doubt. It’s about pronouncing someone as guilty before proven innocent rather than innocent before proven guilty. It’s about criticizing someone’s shortcomings and failures without the humility that comes from being aware of our own. It’s about letting others draw conclusions for us without going to a person directly to form our own conclusions.
When you don’t understand someone’s behavior or conclusions do you approach them with inquisitive questions to try to gain understanding before talking poorly about them behind their back?
When we follow Jesus’s way, going directly to people with our perceived conclusions, we find that a lot of times we’ve missed critical pieces of information in the conclusions we’ve formed. Generally, our hearts are more at peace with that person whether we fully agree with them or not.
Are you judging others the way you want God to judge you? Are you treating others the way you want them to treat you?
Heavenly Father, only you know every detail of why people are behaving and believing as they do. Please help me to give people the benefit of the doubt while being cognizant of my own short-comings and mistakes. Help me to be more inquisitive than accusatory in Jesus name, Amen.