Have you ever complained or highlighted a weakness that a person around you has? Has a person ever told you of the very same weakness that you knew they were guilty of?
Why is this so? Why do we find that the very things we don´t like about people, are the very things we are?
Could it be that the moment you think long enough about someone else´s weakness, you meditate upon it to the extent that it becomes a part of you? Do you then end up doing exactly what you don’t like others to do? Or is it the fact that we think no one else has a right to make the mistakes we make? Are we too blind to our own mistakes? Or do the very mistakes we have create an illusion that makes us think it is the other person with the problem, yet in real sense, the rheum is in our own eyes, disrupting our vision?
What moves a person to want to change? Do we change someone for good by harping on their mistakes? Or is it the love we share that makes them realise they are being rebuked for their own good and not because of unjust harsh judgement?
I am yet to meet someone who changed because they were condemned. People change because they are loved. It is the power of love, care, understanding, that makes someone desire to be better. So maybe the next time, when you realise a slight judgement is about to escape your mouth, think of a better approach that will build, and not destroy. That will make a difference in someone´s life. The bible does not call us to set aside our critical faculties or forbidding us to have opinions about certain actions, ideas, or people. But it speaks clearly about slandering.
When we speak against our brother, we are sitting in judgement. God is the only one who can judge with complete fairness. Slander and judging, are almost inseparable. The slanderer goes beyond legitimate boundaries. Normally judgement is passed only when all the facts have been heard. Those who speak against their brother are quick to pronounce judgement before all facts are heard. Sometimes they do not even want all facts to be heard because it impinges upon their ability to slander. That includes me. We would not be able to say what we are saying when all the facts are exposed. We want it to be kept hidden so we find ourselves in the pattern of jumping into conclusion. We begin judging without any attempt to discover the truth.
Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. (James 4:11)
If we are to analyse well, we will find that most judgement is superficial, misguided, uninformed, cruel judgement. In this case, we are actually speaking against the law that requires us to love our neighbours as we love ourselves. We are saying, that we are above this law. Instead of seeing how it applies to us and try to abide by it, we end up sitting on the throne of judgement, and becoming a law to itself.
James 6: 4, 10 tells us to humble ourselves. When we are honest enough with ourselves to acknowledge what we know of our own hearts and how retched they are. We will be less prone to refuse a position on the judgement seat. But if we are deceitful, lie to ourselves about our position before our God, refuse to humble ourselves then exalt ourselves in defaming others, we find ourselves in this pattern of judgement.
“The knowledge of our own feelings makes us more and more hesitant about expressing any form of criticism of others. The man, who knows himself, learns an increasing silence, before other people´s faults”
Admitting that you are not much better than the offender is not cowardness or softness but it is rather Christ-likeness and tenderness, it is compassion towards other people´s weaknesses as you are well aware of your own struggles that call for Christ´s saving mercy.
There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. (James 4:12)
God is the only one who is able to detect absolutely accurately, convict with absolute authority and punish with absolute fairness. Sometimes we feel like if we do not judge, people will get away with it. We badly want justification and will go to different heights to get it. But we should be careful lest we remove God from his Throne and put ourselves there as we grow impatient of God to exercise his judgement, there by seeking to advance the case by executing them ourselves. God will deal with everything in His own time. We are not in that position. It is pathetic that we should not demand to be heard but also seek to assume the judge´s place and rush to judgements unfounded and unwarranted as if somehow we are able to judge the motives of one another´s hearts.
But you—who are you to judge your neighbour? (James 4:12)
May our daily prayer be that we grow more in love, and less in judgement