“Lord, too often I am so hard on the people closest to me.” Many of us could say the same thing. Husbands are hard on their wives. Wives mercilessly criticize their husbands. Parents tear down their children and strip away every vestige of self-esteem. Friends attack friends, Christians criticize each other and many families are held together by the glue of mutual disdain. Why is it that we are so hard on those we say we love the most? But if a person we don’t know offends us, we’re quick to let him off the hook. It makes no sense.
A Few Examples
Jesus said, “Judge not!” There are so many ways in which we break this command. Here are a few examples:
Blowing small things all out of proportion.
Maximizing the sins of others—their faults and their petty ways.
Coming to quick, hasty, negative conclusions.
Making mountains out of molehills.
Getting involved in situations where you should not be involved.
Passing along critical stories to others.
Having a strong bias to find others guilty.
Being too harsh even when speaking the truth.
Adding aggravating remarks when telling a story.
Dismissing an unkind remark by saying, “I was only joking.”
Saying something critical and then trying to cover it up.
Being unkind and then quickly changing the subject.
Telling too many people about what others have done to us.
Taking pleasure in condemning others.
Telling the truth in order to hurt, not to help.
Putting others down in order to make yourself look better.
Minimizing your sins while magnifying the sins of others.
Note that it is quite possible to have a judgmental spirit even while telling the truth. Some people use the truth as a club to beat others over the head. Simply saying, “Well, it was the truth, you know,” does not get you off the hook.
As I have been thinking about this topic all day, one thing has bothered me: I see far too much of this in my own life. If I am honest with myself, I know that I’m far too quick to pass judgment on others. I see too much of myself on this list, and that makes me very uneasy.
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