So, what’s the difference between making a judgment and being judgmental? Personally, I think the difference is mental…. it’s all in the attitude.
We make judgments all day long. What should I eat? Where should I go? What will I say? What do I think of such and such? What’s the best route to take to this place, etc? Even when it comes to sin, we make judgments based on the rules and laws that we are aware of. Making a judgment on crime is the foundation of civilization. Bringing justice protects society and punishes the offender, and if it’s administered with mercy and truth, it will help both society and the offender to be better for it.
The problem comes when we start to have an attitude about someone or something.
Let’s look at Eve’s situation (sin) from the Bible, for instance. We can all make the judgment that when she ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, she did a very bad thing. There, we’ve made a true judgment, but that’s not the problem, is it? Here’s that same judgment with an attitude, “What a stupid, stupid person Eve was! She ruined life for EVERYONE! Boy, if I was her, I would NEVER have made that decision!” What are we doing to Eve right there? Well, we are adding an attitude of superiority to our judgment. We are being judgmental toward Eve. When we think we can do better without knowing all of the factors of the circumstance, we are saying we ARE better than someone else.
I hold weekly Bible studies with women in jail, and I’ve told them more than once that I don’t judge them harshly for being in jail. I confess that I’ve done some things over the course of my life that, if I had been caught, would’ve landed me in jail too!
That being said, I try to honor Jesus and not commit crimes anymore :).
Still, there’s that saying, “But for the grace of God there go I.” That’s true, but this is also true, “But for the fact that I didn’t get caught, there go I.” I’m just sayin.
What do you say that we get rid of the “holier than thou” attitude today? Instead of being judgmental, why not try to be understanding. Yes, we should prosecute wrongdoers, but let’s not persecute them too.
*When in doubt, keep the attitude out!