I recently attended the funeral of my much-loved grandmother. As we remembered her life, it was obvious that she’d had a huge impact on everyone she met. To grandma, people were important.
Of the many nice things that were said about her, the one that stood out to me was this quote – “she wanted to know everything about everyone… not to judge, but to empathise.”
I found that really inspiring, and also humbling. Being judgemental is not a characteristic many people would want to own up to. But, I’ll admit it – there are times when I judge others. I could say that it is human nature to compare ourselves to others as a way of measuring our success, our attractiveness, our virtue, or our worth, but that is just a cop-out. Judging others is vile and I hate that I do it.
John 3:17 says ‘For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him’. It is interesting that when Jesus was on earth, he spent time with people who were known to be ‘sinners’ – tax collectors, prostitutes, evil-doers. However, it was not the ‘sinners’ he judged, but it was the religious leaders he rebuked for their hypocrisy.
Here is what the apostle Paul says about judgement in Romans 1:2. ‘You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgement on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgement do the same things’.
So how do I rid myself of this tendency to judge?
I think the antidote to judgmentalism is love. If I focus on loving people, there will be no room for judgement. Of course, it is only God’s grace that can change my heart, but I am willing.
I want to leave a legacy like that of my grandmother, who will be remembered for how she loved. What kind of legacy do you want to leave?