When youth and young adults, who grew up in the Church, were asked, ‘What repels you from Church the topic of judgement rose to the surface. It seems it has affected them in two ways. They have felt judged, and they feel that judgement exist in their church setting. It is such a big issue for some, it is the reason they give for leaving for good. It is worth having a discussion with those you work with about this topic, how they feel, what they have experienced, and how to move forward. Here are a few thoughts.
We all judge people, because of the way they look, their weight, style, clothes, or smell. We also judge people because of what they do. We put people into classes because of the sports they like, the way they live, their beliefs, and endless other ways.
It is difficult to not be judgmental in some way. What’s remarkable about Jesus is despite the failings of people, even those closest to Him, He always accepted them. Even though they made plenty of mistakes, even though they doubted, denied, had questions, and ran away, He never gave up on them. This is an incredible picture of what grace is.
When people think about Jesus, judgement isn’t usually the first thought which comes to mind. But yet it is what many people think of Christians. Some would say, ‘Christians are judgmental. They are quick to point out the faults of others and don’t accept people who do not agree with them. They don’t deal with the failings of others well.’ Of course faith and the Bible can be very touchy subjects. We want to hold the standards, directions, and moral truths of these. So how do we find the balance, if there is one? I believe it starts with a few ideas and words from scripture. First, it was said Jesus was full of ‘grace and truth.’ (John 1:14) He definitely spoke the words of God but always seasoned His words and actions with grace.
This doesn’t mean everyone will agree with what Jesus said, or what you’ll say, but truth outside of grace can often be offensive. Truth spoke in relationship is most easily accepted. It is not our job to convict the world of sin, the Bible is clear the Holy Spirit does that. I think this is why scripture tells us to ask God for wisdom, to know what to say and when to say it. The right words at the wrong time, become wrong words. The right words at the right time can do incredible things.
A second piece of advice comes from 2 Corinthians 5:16. It says, ‘So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now!’ It seems we can be out of focus about how we look at people. Just like people did not always see Jesus for who He was, we also don’t always see each other the right way.
We cannot repair all the judgement people have faced, or fix all the
judgmental people. However, a starting point is deciding we will not be
part of it. Our beginning point needs to be looking at people differently
and to stop evaluating them from a worldly point of view. Instead we
should view them like God views them.
Here are just a few things we know from scriptures about us,
and those around us. We are created in the image of God.
We are an eternal being that will spend eternity somewhere.
Jesus died for us, despite being sinful. God loves us so
much that He sent His Son Jesus to die on a cross for us.
Once we see people in a new light we treat them differently. God
has given us the ministry of bringing the broken and lost to know
Him. When a Godly view of others is our starting point, we can
learn how to speak truth to them with the same grace He extends
“This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Judge fairly, and show mercy and kindness to one another. (Zechariah 7:9)
Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. (Luke 6:37)