By Jenna Walmer
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” –Matthew 7:1-6
“The thing I don’t get about Christianity is that, as I grow up, I realize more and more how judgmental a lot of them are.” When talking to some friends about religious beliefs, I have heard comments such as this thrown around, even from believers themselves. I don’t necessarily disagree with them. I hear my strong Christian friends ridiculing others on what they wear and how they talk. Not to remiss disregarding people who have different beliefs or ideas then they do. We have all probably did something along these lines.
However, this is not beneficial. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us to not judge others in a hypocritical way. Judgmental attitudes tear others down in order to build oneself up. We are called to discern carefully in order to help others but not in a negative way. It is a fine line that Jesus gives us. But we are NOT called to tear down others based upon their choices.
First, we are supposed to examine our own motives. The traits in others that are bothersome to us are typically resembled in our own personalities. Instead of judging others, judge yourself first and clean your own impurities. You may not see a problem with what others are doing then.
Our untamed habits, such as judging political identities or religious beliefs or criticizing ones choices, may be a reflection of what we see wrong with others. Instead of scorning another for their differences, look at the problems in yourself first. Do you find it easy to illuminate others’ faults while excusing your own? Before criticizing someone, check to see if you deserve the same.
A different way of going about this whole judgment idea is to let it go completely. I have been trying to do this for a few months now, slipping up a couple times because of the imperfections of humanity. Humans are humans, we all have flaws, and we all were created differently to be unique individuals that have our own ideas, our own set of beliefs, and our own personality. We also do not know the back story of every single human being that walks the face of the earth and why they choose what they choose. It’s perfectly acceptable for your best friend to have polar opposite points of view than you. I know my very vocal cousins and I do, but we still love each other.
Jesus tells us to first look at ourselves, clear ourselves of our own impurities, and then “judge” others, but once we clean ourselves, others wrongdoings will probably not be there. He calls us to build people up (not ourselves), instead of tear people down. Lastly, he wants us to examine our motives for judging others. Why do we judge others? Is it to build ourselves up? Or, is it to help the other person? He wants us to forgive, love, and help our neighbor. Let us love and not judge.
Jenna Walmer is from Lancaster County and is currently in 12th grade. In school, she loves to research historical events. If she were to live in a specific time period, she would want to be a hippie and live in the 60s or 70s. Her favorite past times are swimming and playing her trombone. If you want to know more about her random life, follow her on twitter: @jaymarie2100