The Good Lord has taught me lots of patience through rearing four kids. But, nothing annoys me more than when my kids tattle and try to help me parent their siblings. I kid you not, like 99.9% of all our daily issues come from them not minding their own business. It seems they want to be sure that the flaws of others are pointed out and that no one gets away with something. I’m a totally corny mom sometimes and so I say things like…
“Thanks Dad (or Mom) #2 but I don’t need your help today.”
“Mind your beeswax.”
Or this one I borrowed from The Fresh Prince, “Mind your business, that’s all. Just mind your business.”
“Hoe your own row kid!”
I may have made that last one up. I’m not sure. I am from the country and from a long line of country folk so there is a chance that someone else use to say it in my family.
Anyway, I was thinking that we get in a lot of trouble as adults for not minding our own business too. We definitely can’t parent or police others. And, while I sometimes feel it would make the world a better place if everyone thought and acted like me, no one needs or wants my opinions.
What the Bible Says About Judging Others
So, the bible is pretty serious on this subject of minding our own business when it comes to worrying about others sins and flaws. Just take a look at these verses…
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Yikes!! It’s pretty clear from scripture that God is not a fan of us judging others. That’s His job and He doesn’t need our opinions on the shortcomings of others. And, I get it. If I hear someone tell me again how “so and so got on their tablet 5 minutes early or ate the last piece of candy without asking”, I might lose my mind.
Can you imagine how God feels when we are pointing out others sins and failures? I mean just imagine how many times a day we think something like,” I would never do something like that!” or Can you believe she said that?” But, this isn’t just talking to our children, Mommas, it is for us too and it gets right in my garden shed!
I’ll go first. Every time I see someone letting their toddler have too much sugar or stay up too late or another parent letting their preteens watch movies with too much language, I pat myself on the back. I like to think about how much a better, more aware mom I am and how I’m helping my kids with making good choices. (And, I have to do lots of confessing and prayer for humility and a heart that does not judge but loves.) But, wait; you don’t say those things out loud right? (Me neither.) Doesn’t matter, if we’ve thought it, it’s in our hearts and God knows it (Psalm 139:2,4).
To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
The good news is that we have a Father who knows that we have weaknesses as humans and He is faithful and just to forgive us (Mark 3:28). Also, He gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). So, if we can humbly admit our sometimes judgmental and self-righteous attitudes, we can walk in His grace and He will help us to turn from those thoughts.
Maybe you are like me and sometimes, you have a hard time telling if you are judging or just merely discerning something wrong or false that needs to be addressed. Well, here is a little list complete with scripture (all links to full scriptures are under the image) that I have put together to hopefully help us all out.
How to know if we are judging others:
1. Negative criticism is judging.
- James 4:11– Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.
- Psalm 101:5–Whoever slanders their neighbor in secret, I will put to silence; whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart, I will not tolerate.
This should be obvious because the Bible speaks so much about our words and none of the descriptions give us room to talk unflattering about others. NONE!
2. Assuming without knowing all of the facts is judging.
- John 7:24-“Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.”
- Proverbs 18:13–To answer before listening— that is folly and shame.
Regardless of what we think, we are not all knowing. We never have the full story on another person’s personal life. We can’t assume to know another’s thoughts, reasoning, or intent. This is where terms like, “innocent until proven guilty” and “look for the best in others comes from.”
3. Holding someone to your own cultural or personal standards
or expectations is judging.
These scriptures were longer so I put the links for you to read on your own. The idea is that “human traditions” or “man made rules” are just that. They aren’t customs that the whole of society is bound by. Just because you family or culture has a set way of doing things does not make it wrong for people to do things differently than you.
I had to learn this one the hard way. The Lord moved me to another country to the most diverse city in the world. I quickly understood that my small world and way of doing things was very narrow. I am not talking about compromising on truth or God’s word. However, it is unfair to judge some one based on our own expectations or personal standards.
4. Discerning false teachings is NOT judging.
This one is more for the faith side of things. It is not judging to point out an err in teaching and stay away from that leader or person. We stand on truth and do not want our children or others to be turned from the scriptures by a false teacher.
5. Helping restore a brother or sister with sin struggles is NOT judging.
We are instructed in scriptures to speak the truth in love and to help brothers and sisters in sin. To point out their error in line with the scriptures from a place of care is not judging. We should never gossip about it, criticize, or take on a haughty spirit. If we have prayed and humbly asked the Lord to help us, we will find that they appreciate our concern.
In the end, we can be sure that the Lord knows our hearts. He is the One and Only Judge. We can rely on Him to set others straight as well as us. He is capable and does not need our help. So, let’s make a commitment to pray for others and to think and to speak the best of them.
Lord, help us to keep our own hearts clean. Help us to focus on loving others and leading them to you instead of condemning and judging. Help us to use your word to discern our motives and hearts toward others. Amen.
You might also be interested in this post: How to Keep a Clean Heart