Many know the words of Jesus regarding judgment, even if they are not Bible students per se. A perhaps smaller group would amplify Jesus’ admonition by adding his call in another passage for righteous judgment. That word “righteous” is key. Whose judgments among us are righteous? In reality, only a righteous God can judge righteously. If I attempt to do so myself, I take upon myself a role I will undoubtedly mishandle.
In every sense, the practice of judgment is a two edged sword. When I judge and criticize others, I also condemn myself. I have been in that predicament in the past and will be again, I’m sure. It is so engrained in our thinking- that criticism, fault-finding, and condemnation are the road to correction. God’s earliest prohibition in the Garden seems, in retrospect, to be a warning that our judgments would be our downfall. Three fingers of the hand of judgment do, in fact, point back at the judge.
The challenge is this: Can we learn to be discerners, recognizing the consequences of thoughts and actions, without being a critic of the motives, intelligence, and basic nature of others. Can I “cut myself and others some slack” as the common expression goes? If not, it is a given that no transformation will occur either in myself or the ones I judge. That is the undeniable lesson of history.