How to Not Be “That” Judgmental Christian
“I grew up in church, but I got tired of being judged.”
“Jesus seems okay, but Christians not so much.”
“Oh…you’re a Christian. Yeah, I’m more spiritual.”
We’ve all heard all these statements and more. Why? Because “That” Judgmental Christian ruined it for everyone. The thing is: how often are we “That” Judgmental Christian? Probably more often than we’d like to admit. (In fact, if you’re thinking “that is totally not me,” you probably need this more than anyone. Pride and being judgmental go hand-in-hand—I know from experience in being both as you’ll see below.)
So how do we prevent this?
First, We Remember What It’s Like to Be ______________.
With a latte clinched between her hands and a heavy burden on her heart, a young woman’s eyes filled with tears as she described the disappointment of unfulfilled dreams. This new college grad was describing the unfulfilled dream of marriage right after college. A few years removed and feeling further along emotionally and spiritually, I forgot what it was like to be twenty-one and disappointed. Instead of remembering, I became “That” Judgmental Christian. I took her pain and minimized it. Any truth I spoke fell on ears deafened by the pain of being unheard.
“That” Judgmental Christian is destroyed the moment he or she chooses to remember what it’s like to not be quite as far along as we perceive we are.
Yes, “perceive” we are. Our perception that we are somehow better than the person across the table at a coffee shop always leads to a lack of empathy.
In other words, the moment we forget where we’ve been our likelihood to become “That” Judgmental Christian increases significantly.
A great biblical example of forgetting is the Israelites. In Exodus 14 the LORD divided the Red Sea to rescue the Israelites from Egyptian oppression. In Exodus 15, the Israelites were worried about the LORD providing water. He did so miraculously, but almost immediately afterward they worried if He would provide food. In Exodus 16:2 NASB, “The whole congregation of the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness.”
Sounds a lot like “That” Judgmental Christian in 2019, doesn’t it?
So how do we keep ourselves from becoming “That” Judgmental Christian?
We praise God.
Second, We Watch Our Words.
Another component of remembering and praise is the way we speak. James 1:27 is a familiar verse and should fuel churches across the world. Churches that truly “look after orphans and widows in their distress” epitomize congregations filled with individuals that are not “That” Judgmental Christian.
But do we step back and look at the verse in context? Check out James 1:26 NIV84, “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.”
Our religion is worthless if we do not keep a tight rein on our tongues. In other words, all we do for God is void when we don’t reign in our gossip and slander. Doesn’t that sound like “That” Judgmental Christian?
A person who goes to the nursing home for weekly visitation, but criticizes her pastor at lunch afterward.
A person who “problem-solves” by slandering others, but neglects prayer.
A person that smiles at the soup kitchen on Thanksgiving morning, but stirs up family drama a few hours later at Thanksgiving dinner.
A person who outwardly praises God, but inwardly or privately slanders those made in His image.
When our words tear others down instead of building them up, our words counter the work God wants to do through us and we become “That” Judgmental Christian.