Judge Others or Pray?
by Todd Shupe
“No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:11).
It is so very tempting to judge others as we can go about our day. We often do not say anything negative but in our minds, we condemn others. Some of us will pass judgment when we see someone smoking cigarettes. Others will pass judgment when they see a person with multiple tattoos and piercings. We can even quote Scripture to support our case. Don’t they know that their bodies are a “holy temple”? (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
Just because our negative thoughts are not spoken does not mean that we are pure. Our thoughts are as important as our words. The Bible teaches us, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
If we harbor negative thoughts in our minds, it is inevitable that negative words will come from our mouths. According to Matthew 12:34, “… for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” Negative thoughts and harsh judgment places us on the road to hate. “Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him” 1 John 3:15).
We judge harshly when a clergy has fallen to sins of the flesh. We assume the worst when a brother or sister in Christ is accused of some wrongdoing. We laugh when there is another political scandal, but if the accused is “our” person, we judge the motives of the accuser.
All sin is sin, and it is detestable to our Lord. There is no big or little sin. When we hear that a friend or neighbor is in trouble, rather than gossiping about them and accepting the accusation, let’s instead say a prayer for the accuser and the accuser. May they all be surrounded by God’s love, mercy, and grace. Life will give us plenty of opportunities to pass judgment on others, but let’s use those opportunities to pass along prayers.
Imagine a world in which we all offer grace to sinners (each other) and encouragement rather than judgment. To me, this would be the answer to the Lord’s Prayer in which we pray “your kingdom come” (Matthew 6:10).
We are all God’s chosen people. We have been given grace upon grace from our Lord. Our response to such grace should be to extend it to others. Paul writes in Colossians 3:12, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
Prayer: Dear good and gracious God, We have so many opportunities throughout each day to harshly judge our brothers and sisters in Christ. We know that this dishonors you and us. Help us to use these opportunities to offer prayers rather than judgement. May the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts always be pleasing to you. Amen.
About the Author:
Todd Shupe is the President of DrToddShupe.com and is a well recognized expert on wood-based housing and wood science. Shupe worked as a professor and lab director at LSU for over 20 years. He is active in several ministries including his Christian blog ToddShupe.com. Todd is the Secretary of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men, Database Coordinator for Gulf South Men, and volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, Iron Sharpens Iron, Open Air Ministries, HOPE Ministries food pantry. Todd is currently preparing to be a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men.