Weekly Devotional: Learning to Stop Passing Judgment

Friends swimming in lake

“So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.” — Romans 14:12-13, NIV

Judgment can be a hard topic. After all, no one likes to feel judged. All too often, as humans many of can fall into the trap of passing judgment onto others without examining our own life. However, the Bible warns us not to pass judgment onto those around us as we too are imperfect human beings (Romans 14:12-13).

There are different types of judgment and not all are bad. For example, we may make a judgment about what hotel to stay at based on online reviews. Perhaps, we make a judgment when finding a babysitter for a child. This kind of judgments are helpful and are important parts of life.

In fact, the Bible does not imply that we must never judge others. Rather, that we need to judge righteously and fairly (Proverbs 31:9). Holding others accountable for their actions is very significant, especially within the church and Christian community. It is important to look out for one another and push each other to grow spiritually which at times may mean addressing sins or flaws.

However, unfair judgments based on our assumptions do not point toward God. Rather, these judgments can damage our relationship with others. In John 7:24, Jesus says “Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.”

A Speck of Sawdust vs. a Plank

“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.” — Matthew 7:3-5, NIV

If we are not careful, hypocrisy and judgment can sneak up on us. We can become quick to realize the faults of others but slow at noticing our own. In Matthew 7, Jesus compares this hypocrisy to looking at a speck in someone else’s eye when you have an unacknowledged plank in your own.

For example, it can be easy for us to look at someone else and think they are rude or unwise or many other kinds of things. However, how often have we ourselves been rude or unwise or those same things? We need to make sure we have our heart in the right place and that we are not forgetting the planks in our own eyes.

Mercy Over Judgment

“Because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” — James 2:13, NIV

At times when we may feel like extending judgment to others, we can choose to show mercy instead. The Bible has a lot to say about mercy. Luke 6:36 says “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” As Christians, we can strive to live like Jesus says in this passage. He is the ultimate example of mercy in the place of judgment. Jesus Christ died a horrible death on a cross so we could receive mercy and to save us from the consequences of our sins.

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.