Written by Kristy Loewen
I have a few theories. I didn’t know that I was forming these theories until I’d gone through some personal trials and was on the other side, recovering from them.
First theory. We tend to judge the characteristics of others the most harshly when we see those same characteristics in ourselves. Think about it for a second. What is your biggest annoyance with others?
It usually isn’t just a pet peeve, like chewing gum. It is an actual trait. Like laziness. Or rudeness. Or lack of communication. Any chance you are judging someone else harshly because you do not like that same trait in yourself?
Second theory. We see the world in black and white until we go through an experience that proves otherwise. When a situation becomes personal, you start to see that it is no longer black and white.
I’m going to use the example of getting a bad injury. Before I broke my ankle to the point of needing surgery, I didn’t give recovery to something like that a second thought. You deal with it and move on. You suck it up and do the work, and get better.
But that isn’t what happened in my case. I got extremely depressed by the incident. I gained a hefty fear of having a lifetime debilitating physical ailment, and I couldn’t bring myself to get up off the floor even to eat.
Now think of someone who had a heart attack. You would think they would have a newfound motivation to get healthy. But did you consider how many mental stops they could experience in that endeavour? We cannot just assume someone feels a certain way and is motivated the way we should think they should be.
Black and white assumptions leave no room for grace.
Ultimately, pride causes us to think we’re better than someone else, causing us to judge them.
Fourth theory. Grace is the ultimate judgment buster. Until we gain more understanding of grace, we cannot have that grace for someone else. But how do we do that? We need to see ourselves through God’s eyes. We need to go through our hard times and learn from them. We need to love others as we love ourselves.
God sees you each as equal to everyone else on earth. He loves you as much as He loves the person that wronged you. What reason did they have to do what they did to you? Maybe they had a terrible week at work and their filter was at zero when those hurtful words came out. Maybe your boss is exerting their power poorly because they have no power in their personal lives.
You know how I deal with those people? I pray for them. Not that judgment would come on them, but that they would see God and understand how much He loves them.
Grace diffuses judgment. The true test of our understanding of grace is how quickly it influences our responses to the people in our lives.