16 Mar “3 Ways We Judge People, & Don’t Even Know It” By Eric Heater
I am a judgmental person. I make assumptions about people all the time—my brain will sometimes just paint a whole picture about who a person is without knowing all the facts. I guess this kinda makes me a jerk. I’m sorry.
But, if we’re all honest with ourselves, this is really a universal issue right? I mean, I really hope it’s not just me.
As a church, our aim is to help people to be able to experience the love of Jesus, and to discover how He can change their life. Unfortunately, this mission breaks down when people see a judgmental, flawed God, because of how they view his followers.
I know none of us desire to be judgmental or give others a reason to doubt the gracious, loving, Savior we follow, but often times we’re just not aware that we’re judging others in the moment. So here are 3 ways that we, as a Church, judge people and probably don’t even realize it.
We establish an Us vs. Them atmosphere.
Every community of people that make up a church body have a number of things that they hold in common. Unfortunately sometimes these shared beliefs become the standard for whether someone feels included or excluded in our community. People who think or feel differently about these beliefs tend to feel like outsiders, who couldn’t possibly become insiders. We have managed to create a spiritual bubble that is built on sheltering more than nurturing, protecting ourselves versus portraying Christ to our neighbors, and standing up for beliefs rather than loving the people with whom we come in contact.
Now obviously shared beliefs are a huge part of what makes a church community, but rather than making this the glue that holds us together, what if we were able to focus more on the fallen, broken, messy world that we live in. We all get battered, bruised, and beat up—let’s be the ones that can help each other up and point to Jesus as the ultimate healer.
We want Behavior to change before Belief happens.
If someone hasn’t grown up in the church, and hasn’t been a part of the spiritual bubble that we mentioned earlier, then why do we sometimes expect them to live up to certain standards of behavior? How are they supposed to know what music is okay to listen to, what TV shows and movies are okay to watch, and what clothes are appropriate to wear?
I jest, but we can’t expect people to hold to a certain moral standard or way of behavioral thinking before each person has come to a place of belief in who Jesus is. It is a process. The more that people get to know who Jesus is and how much he loves us, the more he can transform our lives to reflect him.
We dismiss questioning as spiritual immaturity.
The Apostle Paul tells us to “test everything, and to hold fast to what is good.” Yet, sadly, church is often a place where people do not feel comfortable asking questions, especially about controversial subjects. How can we help to develop a culture where questions are encouraged, rather than dismissed? We as spiritual leaders need to view these as opportunities not only to help someone else to grow in their understanding of God’s Word, but also to re-evaluate ourselves to make sure we got it right in the first place!
Wrapping things up:
James 2:1 encourages us to “Show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.” The author goes on to encourage us to express our faith in Jesus Christ by loving our neighbor as ourselves, for what good is our faith if we do not actually do good works for others?
I leave with you these two questions that my care group and I have been trying to ask ourselves every day for these last few weeks:
Who am I supposed to love today?
How am I supposed to love this person today?
Try it and see who God puts in front of you! Feel free to share your experience with this in the comments!