Honestly, I am not sure I know the right place to start with this piece but we move! Have you ever found yourself promulgating the “do not judge” principle? Have you then found yourself judging someone immediately after? Yup! I know how that feels. I have been there a few times and I would immediately remind myself about it.
Recently, I started thinking about this and it dawned on me that the “do not judge” principle is not a default mindset. We do not exactly walk around with that default button. It is almost impossible to not judge people, if not consciously, then subconsciously. And as I dug deeper, I realised that this is due to the fact that we are brought up in a certain way in a certain environment. Certain aspects of our upbringing highlights things that are right and wrong. Often times, the prejudices of our parents are passed down except you have a coconut head as I do sometimes. The truth is when you are put in a space where everyone does something contrary to what you were taught to be correct, you are bound to judge. If you were brought up in a home where you were told that ladies that wear skirt are going to hell (extreme much), when you step out and see ladies wearing skirt you are subconsciously going to judge them. There are no two ways about it. One of the biggest problems we have in this country is profiling and that is judging a book by its cover. We already all have a profile for certain things and carry it around judging people by it. We fail to understand that our decisions have consequences. There are certain people I look at from the corner because of profiling. The problem with profiling is that you do not leave room to be surprised. You conclude that your profiling skills are top notch and you act out on them.
Does that mean that judging people is inevitable? Nope! It is just easier said than done. So what do we do? Good question, I am going there. The first step is settling in your heart that your set of beliefs is one set in billions. Everyone carries around an element of their upbringing. You were not the only one that was trained or trained right for that matter.
Secondly, once you have re-oriented your thinking, then you need to start leaving room for surprise. When you feel yourself getting judgmental, remind yourself that you might be wrong and give yourself room to find out that you are. Most importantly, be open to accepting that you are wrong when you are indeed wrong. In my experience, I have been pleasantly wrong about some people. There are people that I did not talk to for the longest time because I had labelled them certain things but when I eventually had a conversation with them, I realised that they were the sweetest innocent beings.
Thirdly, you need to realise that presents come in different packages. Sometimes, the roughly packaged gifts are the best ones. Variety is the spice of life. Also, you may be a gift to the person. You might be the person actually required to turn their lives around. If you are too busy judging them based on how they dress, how will you walk in purpose? We have lost many helpers and failed to be ordained helpers because we were too busy judging the packaging of the gift.
Fourthly, remember that although you are not Jesus, you are called to follow Him. You are not perfect! We are progressing, yes, but we are not perfect. Extend the same grace that Jesus has been extending to you. Deal in love. Think about how Jesus related with everyone despite who He was. He called a tax collector to be one of His disciples, He could have judged Matthew like every other person did, but He gave Matthew purpose. With the man with leprosy, Jesus did not need to touch him to heal him but Jesus did to show acceptance and love. View everyone from a lens of love and you will judge less. Of course, this is also easier said than done. Hence why in the beginning, you have to be intentional about it. You have to consciously remind yourself about it. After a while, it will become like second nature.
Lastly, I want to address the impact of this within the church. We must learn to be receptive of correction within the church without treating it as ‘judging’. Like it or not, we are guided by a manual which is the Bible. There are certain things that completely contradict the Bible and as Christians, we should not be afraid of addressing it. We must not hide behind not wanting to judge people and make that an excuse for watching people completely miss it. We are meant to help each other. Also, whoever is giving the correction should be focused on solving the problem and not compounding it. The Church is not for creating conflict and drama. Do not hide behind correcting somebody whilst you are actually judging the person and causing trouble. You know yourself! We are expected to deal in love like I said earlier, correction should also be done in love. No one knows it all so we pick from each other. I just felt the need to address that because we must tell ourselves the truth. The ultimate goal is to depopulate hell not lose the harvest!