Jesus said that, and I suspect He was serious. I’m supposed to do my best to not judge other people. God’s the judge. I’m not.
When I judge someone, I try to become God. Pretty serious stuff, right?
For Lent this year I decided to take the notion of judging seriously. I’m not silly enough to think I could “give up judging” for Lent, but I decided to become more aware of my judgments. I wanted to pause when I caught myself judging and talk to God about it.
As you might imagine, there’s been A LOT of pausing and talking. I’m sad to admit that I’m a good deal more judgmental than I realized. (It didn’t help that this is a presidential election year.)
I notice that I judge folks most often by placing them in categories.
Once I decide person is clearly one of those people, I’ve placed him in a category. Once I categorize, I’ve judged, because those people are all _____, right? I don’t see an individual with a story, which is of course what God sees.
As my friend Dick Foth says, “When someone asks what you think of those people, ask, ‘Which one?'”
I’m not even sure I understand what “Don’t judge” means, exactly. I know it involves love, grace, and forgiveness, but so far I’m better at apologizing for getting it wrong than getting it right. After a couple of weeks, God and I are still talking.
Jesus didn’t tell us not to do a whole lot of stuff. He did tell us, “Don’t judge.”
He must have thought it was important.