How To Be Less Judgmental
How Finger-Pointing Reveals Something Important About Ourselves
First off…there’s an exciting new episode of my podcast and I can’t wait for you to hear it. Warning: this episode isn’t for those who are easily offended. John is a political comedian and we have a no-holds-barred conversation about the dangers of fundamentalism, and in particular, how it has hijacked a lot of Christianity. I’m so proud of this conversation and believe it’s super important for people to hear it. (You can listen anywhere you hear podcasts — or right here — and here’s a link to it on Apple podcasts.)
So…you’re wondering how to be less judgmental? Well, I can’t guarantee to completely fix anyone…heck, I’m constantly in process, but maybe something in this week’s post will be helpful. I hope so. Here goes…
I received a super honest email from someone where they confessed to not liking how judgmental they can be. They mentioned a couple big issues that they have a hard time with, in particular, saying “I hate thinking these thoughts.”
I totally get it. I can also be super judgmental. I’m judgmental now about things that I was never judgmental about before. And I’m not at all judgmental about some things that used to really get my goat. Isn’t it funny how we change?
Q: So Mark, how can I stop being judgmental?
A: That’s a big question. Let me give it a shot.
First off, I really appreciate your honesty! I love having a chance to respond, because I believe the answer is rooted in love. You may know that all of my writings are to help lead people to a deeper understanding of how loved they are by God, and then live giving away that love to other people.
There are a couple of thoughts that come to mind as I’m writing. And since I don’t know you very well, it’s impossible to know your exact life experiences and perspectives. But I’m going to offer some thoughts trusting that you’ll hear what you need to hear and God will sift out what you don’t need to hear. :)
I believe a lot of our judgmental thoughts stem from our need to feel right and good ourselves. Saying something like “I can see how pleased God is with me because I’m not like those people.” When in reality, we are all THOSE people. Jesus came to show us God’s love…all of us. Seeing ourselves as incredibly loved by God, simply because we have been created by God…apart from any sense of self-righteousness…is what will allow us to see others as loved with the same amount of love.
I lived a long time thinking that I needed to be disgusted by how some people were living their lives…believing that I had special insight into how God’s love works, and I was being a really good Christian, and they weren’t. I deserved God’s love, they didn’t. That just made me miserable and pushed a lot of people away from me. Then I learned there’s no such thing as a really good Christian. You either are one or you’re not. And that so many people need me to be loving, instead of judging.
A big part of this for me was needing to let go of my need to control other people…to get them to change to be more like I thought they should be…because of course, I knew all the right ways people should be living their lives. That’s arrogance to the nth degree.
If you’re wanting to be less judgmental, God is calling you to repentance for thinking you somehow have “earned” God’s love by your right living. God’s character is love, and God is asking us to be the same. When my character is love, I’m more able to see other people as the Beloved, and seek to love and serve them in ways that they can receive it, and not just in the ways I think they should.
We are all walking around deeply wounded by life’s difficulties. Starting with compassion and understanding, rather than judgment, is a great way to love our brothers and sisters.
Anything you’d like to add? Or any questions you’d like to ask?
Thank you for reading — I’m grateful for your company.
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