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Is she looking at me? Are they laughing at me? I wonder what he really thinks about me. The fear of being judged is one that can drive us absolutely crazy as we struggle to keep our anxieties about people’s opinions under wraps.
A fear of being judged, is one that can keep us from reaching out to others because we fear what they will think about us. Worse, we fear they will judge us and find us lacking that quintessential ‘Something’.
At the heart of it, we judge each other and are very critical. Our default voice seems to be a stickler for rules (even those we ourselves can’t keep). This default persona gets super judgy when things don’t go the way we think they should.
That may be why Paul was so adamant about the Jews giving the Gentile some leeway. The descendants of Abraham had hundreds of years to learn about God and how to keep His law. Yet, they broke His commandments repeatedly. That didn’t stop them from highlighting every tiny thing the Gentiles did contrary to the law.
I hate to say this, but all of us have a little Pharisee in us – a finger-pointing, accusing, legalist. We are quick to point out the flaws of others because we are hoping to deflect attention from ourselves.
It starts with internalizing the teaching of Matthew 7:1-3:
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?”
We have to first recognize that we are not in a position to judge anyone else. As James said, there is one Lawgiver and Judge (James 4:12) – one Perfect Person who was able to live on this earth and not make any of the mistakes that we made. That Person was Christ.
For me, one of the scariest things is the thought that I will judged using the same standards I use to judge others. As much as I’d like to admit otherwise, my thoughts aren’t always kind and I don’t always extend grace to those I come in contact with.
Is that just me?
Oh, I don’t say everything I think (thank God!) but I’m not always kind. Since God knows my heart I know there’s a record of every unkind thought that has flitted (or lodged) in my head.
I'll tell you something – we need to be careful about the things we say even about ourselves. When we judge ourselves harshly we will come under the judgment of God.
The concept of “judge not, that you be not judged” should also be applied to ourselves. And while we tend to be kinder to others than we are to ourselves, the fear of being judged starts within.
Maybe if we judge ourselves less
harshly we’d be able to stop ourselves from judging each other. As we learn to
stop judging, we'll spent more analyzing and internalizing Jesus’ life on earth.
As we start to compare ourselves with Jesus’ perfect example, we realize there is no way we can live up to the high standards we expect others to live up to. And that begets grace.
Challenge: In what ways do you fear you are being judged by others?