“Don’t judge someone just because they sin differently than you.” ~Unknown …
Being a Christian and sinning does not mean that I am a hypocrite. On the other hand, judging others because they do not live up to my definition of living a Christian life probably does. After all, we are all sinners. Therefore, if I ever find myself judging others, I am most likely failing to accept and deal with my own faults. So why is it so easy to overlook our own flaws, yet outwardly judge others for theirs? Why do we compare ourselves to others in the first place, instead of simply evaluating ourselves and working towards a deeper and a more meaningful spiritual life for ourselves?
One thing I always have to mention when bringing up the topic of judging others is that standing up for what I know is morally right and good is not the same thing as judging someone. If I believe abortion is wrong, then I have a moral obligation–as well as a Christian one–to stand up and speak the truth, for not doing so is a sin of omission. However, treating someone harshly or disrespecting them for something they have done, or are doing, simply because I believe it immoral is judging them… and it is not a healthy thing to do.
We should not measure ourselves, or others, with the same measuring stick. For one thing, we have no idea what others have been through, or the reasons they have made the choices that they have. In addition, when we judge others, we essentially set the standard by which we will be judged (Matthew 7:2).
We are each called to live righteous and pious spiritual lives, which may include prayer, fasting, studies, acts of love and kindness, sharing and giving, joining in communion with one another, and so on. But excluding others because of how they have failed to live up to our expectations truly goes against all that Christianity teaches us. Moreover, it goes on to hurt us directly, as this exclusionary view limits the depth of our spirituality with our brothers and sisters here on Earth, and serves to provide a false sense of righteousness.
It is important to remember that we are only human. And with that in mind, we must forgive our own shortcomings, as well as those of others.
Take some time today to discover some of the difficulties others face in their own lives.
Questions to consider:
What are some ways that others have acted in which you feel you would have acted differently?
Can you truly say you would not have acted similarly if you had been faced with the situations that they were facing?
In what ways can we help build others up instead of tearing them down?
For further thought:
“Religion is to be used as a stepping stone to God but it must never be used as a tower to hold one aloft from others. We are all cells in the body of humanity. When anyone attempts to isolate another, they only isolate themselves more.” ~Peace Pilgrim