We continue today examining the roots of critical judgments.
An ugly face of uncharitable judgment is prejudice; believing that because someone is a different gender, race or nationality than you that they are somehow inferior. Some people just can’t stand the reality that we are all from Adam and Noah, we are all one people; red, black, brown, tan, and white. Prejudice says my race or gender makes me superior to you. It is ugly.
A bitter person is also looking for the worst in others. Bitterness is a result or fruit of unforgiveness. We like to justify hanging on to hurts and wounds. Somehow we think we will make them pay by holding on to things. Bitterness makes us hard and callous, and does not hurt them one bit.
I have had more than my share of bitter women in counseling over the past 15 years, and once that hardness sets in, it is so difficult to turn those thoughts around! It becomes habit to always look for the thing to rank on, to be suspicious of, and to nag about. I often challenge the bitter wife to decide when enough is enough. How much more is her husband going to have to pay before she is satisfied? What exactly does he have to do for you to forgive? And you know what? She rarely knows because the bar keeps being raised. When he jumps todays hoops tomorrows will be higher. That is wrong, uncharitable, and unloving.
A lack of love is the ultimate in critical judgments. When there is much criticism there is little genuine love. The one who is criticized is forever trying to earn the love of the other. Always trying to measure up, but never quite making it.
Conversely where there is love, or where love abounds, there is a willingness to let the other person be human, make errors and think the best of them in the process. (1 Cor. 13:4-7; 1 Peter 4:8). Love thinks the best of people. Love thinks that even if things are hard today, next week after he or she has grown some they will be better. Love lets us make mistakes, and blunders and keeps on loving! When that love is all new and fresh, you don’t care if the toilet seat is up- again or the tube of toothpaste is squeezed in the middle or the end! Why is it that these things grate on us so after a while?
Why do we stop believing good about each other so easily? Sometimes it is because they have broken their word to us over and over. We are afraid to trust again because we don’t want to be hurt again.
The radar is on high and we are watching and waiting for anything that looks suspicious. If you have been burned, and someone has violated your trust- husband, child, friend- it won’t be easy for you to think the best of them. But you have to try!
God is eager to help us change and God is the only one who can change us. The unbeliever needs to place their faith and trust in Jesus for salvation first, and then when the Holy Spirit indwells that process of sanctification begins.
Because of Jesus, we are able to not sin. In His death and resurrection he conquered sin, and made available to us the possibility to do so as well! One day we will be free from sin! It won’t be on this earth, but while we are here we are to be ridding ourselves of what we once were (dead in our trespasses and sins) and taking on the characteristics of Jesus Christ. The process of sanctification is becoming more and more like Christ, ridding ourselves of sins like bitterness and jealousy and critical judgments.
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