We Christians might as well admit it. We all do this. We really don’t want to do this. But somehow it seems to come so natural to us.
Yes, people who aren’t Christians do this, too.
But the target audience for my blog are Christians who want to enjoy greater intimacy with Christ through understanding their flawless identity in Him.
And that’s exactly why Christians don’t really want to do this at all (Gal. 5:16-17).
But the Christian’s new heart is not the source of this ungodly habit. (Did I mention this is a habit?)
The source of this ungodly habit is what the Bible calls “the flesh” (See Philippians 3:3-10).
I’m not talking about our physical bodies here, but “a flawed way of living in this world, independently of God and His power.”
In short, when we are walking by the flesh, we are walking in self-sufficiency instead of Christ-dependency (See Galatians 5).
There are many different flavors of flesh. Angry, hateful, greedy, anxious, guilty, lazy, selfish, suspicious, fearful, insecure, unforgiving, prideful, impulsive, jealous, lustful—just to name a few.
The flavor of flesh I want to shine the spotlight on in today’s post is judgmental flesh.
When we pass judgment on other people, we aren’t living from the internal wellspring of His life in new hearts (John 7:38).
I want to clarify that the type of judgment I’m referring to in this post is a “negative focus on the visible flaws in others’ outward appearances and behaviors.”
When we judge others, we are eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, deciding whether they are good (right) or bad (wrong) based on their outward appearances and actions (Gen. 2:9, 17).
To put it simply, we are evaluating them according to the flesh (2 Cor. 5:16–17).
When we judge another person, what we are really doing is math—subtracting from their worth to add to ours (because we don’t know where our true worth comes from):
Every one of our judgments prevents us from agreeing with God that each person we encounter has unsurpassable worth, as evidenced by the fact that Jesus died for them. Instead of ascribing worth to others, at cost to ourselves, we tend to feed our hungry souls by ascribing worth to ourselves, at cost to others. What we see when we judge another are the things we judge rather than a human being whom God was willing to die for. Our judgment prevents us from seeing their unsurpassable worth. (Taken from Present Perfect by Gregory A. Boyd. Copyright © 2010 by Gregory A. Boyd. Used by permission of Zondervan. zondervan.com. 122.)
What we see when we judge another person are externals, rather than an internal heart with unsurpassable worth.
Jesus gave every one of us unsurpassable worth by dying on the cross for us. Unsurpassable worth means “a worth that cannot be exceeded in value.”
We will never be worth more than we are at this moment. Take a minute to think about that statement.
Here’s something else to chew on: Do you realize that it is impossible to judge someone and love that person at the same time?
Judgment and love are mutually exclusive. Simply put, if we are judging, we are not loving.
We would also do well to remember that judging ourselves on the basis of outward appearance and actions is just as wrong as judging another person.
When we find ourselves steeped in judging others and ourselves, it is an obvious symptom of a root problem—our lack of knowledge of the unsurpassable worth Christ has already given each one of us.
When we focus on Christ (eat from the tree of life), acknowledging and enjoying the unsurpassable worth He has given us—regardless of our outward appearances and actions—our hungry souls will be satisfied, and we will have little appetite for judging others.
Do you find yourself more often judging, rather than loving others and yourself?
If your answer is yes, please understand that trying hard not to judge will only exacerbate the problem because of your negative focus.
The way to get free from the snare of judgment is to immerse yourself in the unconditional love of Jesus and to understand the unsurpassable worth He has already given you by dying for you.
Ask Jesus to cause you to understand the unsurpassable worth He has given to you and to experience the unconditional love He has for you.
As He does this, judgment toward yourself and others will greatly diminish.
Now that is Good News!
If you enjoyed this post, then I believe you would savor my debut Bible study, His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love.
This is an intimate, interactive study on the first two chapters of the Song of Songs, dynamically designed to help believers in Christ—both men and women—enjoy wondrous delight in intimacy with Him.
If you want to learn more, check out my book page.
Until next time,
Live Christ—Live Happy!
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Kim K. Francis
P.O. Box 357
Perryton, TX 79070