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Wednesday, November 09, 2016
Healing from Judgmentalism -HIRD
By Rev. Dr. Ed Hird
Many people dream of Christmas time being a family time
where everyone can get along. Sometimes
people drink heavily at Christmas as a way of self-medicating the pain of being
in close quarters with their family. Most
of us find it painful to be around people, including spouses, who are being very
judgmental and negative. In some
families, judgmentalism is the air that we breath. It is all that we know. What might it look like to be healed from
judgmentalism at Christmas?
When Jesus famously tells us not to judge in Matthew 7:1, he
is not telling us to be undiscerning, but rather not to condemn and reject
other people with whom we may disagree. Yes,
there is a place for constructive criticism with our spouses, family, coworkers
and friends, but it needs to rooted in an environment of love, acceptance and
encouragement. This is why Dr John
Gottman found that in healthy marriages and relationships, people make five
positive comments for every negative comment. Healing from judgmentalism involves choosing
words of life over words of death and destruction, especially at Christmas.
Billy Graham, who turned 98 this month, insightfully said
this year that being judgmental and constantly criticizing others is wrong in
the eyes of God. It is not one of the gifts of the Spirit, like
the gift of encouragement. You can’t
criticize and condemn people into Christlikeness. Dr. Graham, who has spoken in person to over
260 million people, observed that a judgmental attitude also blinds us to our
own faults. (Have you ever noticed that judgmental people almost never
criticize themselves?) Jesus said that such judgmentalism is like having a log
in our eye while trying to doing eye surgery on someone else’s speck of
sawdust. Judgmental people are often
very insecure, and are constantly seeking to build themselves up. One way they
do this is by tearing other people down. But in reality, said Dr. Graham, they
end up tearing themselves down also, because no one wants to be their friend. Judgmental people are often the loneliest
people on earth. Renouncing
judgmentalism restores the gift of relationship particularly with our families.
Jesus gave us a difficult task: to judge or discern
nonjudgmentally: “Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right?” (Luke
12:54) At the heart of judgmentalism is prejudice, which means to pre-judge, to
judge too quickly before you have taken time to examine the facts. Jesus can deliver
us from the curse of prejudice. It is
not a sin to have moral convictions about right and wrong, but we need to take
the time to carefully listen to other people’s viewpoints and never condemn
other people when we disagree with them.
Healing from judgmentalism requires a willingness to die to the need to
win arguments for their own sake. People
become more important than our need to always be right. I will always remember my sister advising me
about a difficult situation: “Be kind.”
We can all learn to be more kind like Jesus, gentle like Jesus, humble
like Jesus, and nonjudgmental like Jesus.
Even when Jesus challenged people to repent and turn from sin and
selfishness, he was always loving, tolerant, and kind.
You can’t reach people for Christ to whom you are being
judgmental. Judgmentalism just drives
them away. Is there anyone in your life
that you need to stop judging this Christmas?