|Help For Those Who Struggle With A Judgmental Attitude
Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls.
And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. ~ Romans 14:4
When [other people] fail to satisfy our desires and live up to our expectations, we criticize and condemn them in our hearts if not with our words. As David Powlison writes:
We judge others–criticize, nit-pick, nag, attack, condemn–because we literally play God. This is heinous. [The Bible says,] “There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you to judge your neighbor?” Who are you when you judge? None other than a God wannabe. In this we become like the Devil himself (no surprise that the Devil is mentioned in James 3:15 and 4:7). We act exactly like the adversary who seeks to usurp God’s throne and who acts as the accuser of the brethren.
When you and I fight, our minds become filled with accusations: your wrongs and my rights preoccupy me. We play the self-righteous judge in the mini-kingdoms we establish….
I am not saying that it is inherently wrong to evaluate or even judge others within certain limits. As we will see in chapter 7, Scripture teaches that we should observe and evaluate others’ behavior so that we can respond and minister to them in appropriate ways, which may even involve loving correction (see Matt. 7:1-5; 18:15; Gal. 6:1).
Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 106-107
Food for Thought
Why does Scripture repeatedly caution us regarding judging our Christian brothers and sisters? What is the fundamental danger involved in such judgment? Is it that we might judge other Christians inaccurately?
Paul delivers a surprising answer in Romans 14:4. He says that the danger involved in judging other Christians actually has nothing to do with other Christians at all. The danger, he says, is that we judge God inaccurately when we say that other Christians cannot or will not change. “He [the person we are judging] will stand,” Paul asserts, “for the Lord is able to make him stand” (emphasis ours). Judging others is wrong, says Paul, when it leaves the Lord–the only one who can change human hearts, and the one who is passionately committed to change human hearts–out of the change equation. It neglects entirely God’s great promise in Philippians 1:6, “he who began a good work in [that brother or sister] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Judgment of other Christians that is not grounded in God’s power and promises is heinous judgment indeed, as David Powlison notes in the quote above. It is the opposite of humility and confident faith. If you are struggling with a judgmental attitude toward another Christian, remember Scripture’s command to “hope in the Lord” and don’t be discouraged by the actions (or inactions) of that person. Remember and repeat to yourself as you pray for the other person (and for your own patience): The Lord is able to make him stand!
Resources To Help You Respond to Conflict Biblically
Are you struggling with conflict in your family? If so, then Peacemaking for Families was written for you. This book introduces the basic principles of biblical peacemaking and directly applies those principles to marriage, parenting, and other relationships in the extended family. Peacemaking for Families will thoroughly bless you, challenge you, and help transform your home from a battlefield to a place of peace. You can order it through our online bookstore or by calling our Resource line at 800-711-7118.
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