As human beings, we have a bad habit of judging others. It’s easy to do. We see someone who is doing something we view as bad, or living their life in a way we disapprove. So we look down on them. We criticize them. We think they should be making better decisions or living their life in a different manner.
Here is the tough thing about judging others: We are always making a judgment on the basis of incomplete information. We don’t know the ins and outs of another person’s pain, struggle, family background, or life experiences. We don’t know their genetic makeup or tendencies toward particular struggles.
We only know a small part of their story and experience, and we’re already making a judgment about them. It’s not fair.
Leave Judgment for God
This is why we should leave the task of judging others up to God. Only God knows the other person fully—all their difficulties, struggles, and pain. Only God knows what has happened to that person, and the choices they made along the way. Only God has a correct vantage point on which to judge another human being.
If You Must Judge, Focus on Yourself
If you absolutely must judge someone, focus on yourself. At least in that case, you have more access to the full story. You at least have some sense of your own history, background, and choices. You can be more accurate in your judgment of yourself.
What Does God Do With His Power to Judge?
One final thought: It is interesting what God does with his power to judge. There is a powerful story in John 8 in which a woman was caught in the act of adultery. In that culture, the punishment for this crime was death, and the Pharisees brought the woman to Jesus, ready to stone her.
Jesus said something incredible: “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7).
The crowd slowly left, one at a time, until no one was left but Jesus. It’s as if they finally recognized that because they were only human beings, they didn’t have a proper vantage point from which to judge her. They finally realized they were not God.
And then Jesus, the one person who could condemn her, said the following: “Neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin” (John 8:11).
Even God Himself, who had full information and the power to judge, chose to give mercy instead of judgment. Maybe we could follow this example in our relationships with one other.