Saturday, December 31, 2016

Understanding People Is Superior to Judging People



I have judged people, at times, wrongly. This has taught me to go slow when it comes to understanding another person's heart.

I am asking God to fully free my heart from judging the hearts of others. I do not want to spend the hours of my life doing that.


What about judging behaviors? Of course we can do that, and will do that. We can make judgments about a lot of things without being judgmental. Here, for example, is a moral judgement: It's wrong to rape people for fun. I judge that this statement is true.

When it comes to people, one cannot make a reasonable judgment without first understanding. It is foolish to judge without understanding. Here's things get tricky when it comes to the hearts of other people. We barely understand the complexities of our own heart. How can we think we have access to the inner workings of another person's heart and mind? Yet this is precisely what the judgmental person claims. They say, "I know what you are thinking!" Or: "I know why you did that!" Which makes us want to respond by saying, "And just who are you - God?"

Instead of judging, understand. Strive to understand others and be understood by them. When understanding is the goal, judgmentalism often morphs into compassion.

Time spent judging the hearts of other people is wasted time. Because:
  • First - our judgments can be wrong, and are probably incomplete.
  • Second - judgmentalism has no redemptive value. The point of judging others' hearts is simply: to judge others' hearts. There is an intrinsic circularity, a sick redundancy, to judgmentalism.
  • Third - we can't change peoples' hearts anyway, so why waste time judging them? Years ago God spoke to me and I wrote these words in my journal: "John, why are you trying so hard to change other people when you can't even change your own self?"
I have spent too much "judging time" towards other people. It is non-redemptive, non-edifying, and hateful. I have judged people falsely before (even in my own home) with the result being, not corporate household transformation into truth and love, but a deformed, loveless heart inside of me.

Spend time, yourself, with God today.


Ask God to search out your own heart. Spend your life on being searched-out by God, instead of playing God with the hearts of people.

If God reveals to you some truth about another person's struggle, thank him that he has entrusted you with this knowledge, and begin praying for that person.

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My recent book is Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God.

I'm teaching a five-month class on prayer, beginning Sat., Jan. 7, at Redeemer.