series artseries art

How to Be Less Judgmental

…But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” JOHN 8:1-11 ESV

Admit we are all judgmental

The question is never “do you judge others?” – the question is “by what standard do you judge others?”

God wants me to use a biblical standard for judgment.

Do not twist justice in legal matters by favoring the poor or being partial to the rich and powerful. Always judge people fairly. LEVITICUS 19:15 NLT 

Try to understand why we tend to judge others

We judge people:

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment… ROMANS 12:3 NLT

Learn how to have judgment like Jesus

Jesus wasn’t judgmental but he had judgment.

When it’s personal, you can have an opinion

Now, I will speak to the rest of you, though I do not have a direct command from the Lord. 1 CORINTHIANS 7:12 NLT

When it’s a person, you must have compassion

Jesus stood up and said to her, “Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” JOHN 8:10-11 NLT

When it’s public, you must exercise wisdom 

This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. JOHN 8:6 ESV

Realize that you will be judged the way you judge others

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. MATTHEW 7:1-2 NIV

If there are rocks in my hand then Jesus is not in my heart.

My Notes

Personal Reflection Guide

Find a quiet place where you can dialogue with God without distractions. Invite God into these few moments, asking him to give your heart insight and understanding concerning the message you heard and also in the time you now share with him. It can be so easy to judge others; this comes very naturally to our human nature. Ask God for compassion and an understanding of others, particularly their unique story and their heart. As you consider times in which you have either judged others or felt judged, what does this reveal to you about your own heart? This week, as the temptation to judge another person creeps in, ask God to keep the story of the woman caught in adultery fresh in your heart, and ask him for compassion and understanding instead. If you experience people judging you, give those people over to God, asking him to deal with them in his perfect manner. Resist the temptation to lash out or to handle the situation yourself. Thank God for being the perfect judge and for his trustworthiness in handling all that appears to be lacking justice. Thank him for his forgiveness of you, and for accepting you as his own, and ask him to help grow your compassion and understanding of others this week.

Discussion Questions

  1. What have you been learning about yourself, God or others in your personal Bible reading time? What stood out to you this week?
  2. Read John 8:1-11. While it may not be the same “who” or “what” as the Pharisees, “who” or “what” tends to bring out your judgmental nature?
  3. Read 1 Corinthians 7:12. When a topic or behavior is not directly covered in the Bible, what do you use to formulate your opinion?
  4. Re-Read John 8:10-11. Jesus showed amazing compassion to the woman who was brought before him. What tools or techniques help you humanize hurting or broken people to help lead you to compassion over judgement?
  5. Re-Read John 8:6. As you think back over the story, in what ways do you see Jesus exercise wisdom in this very public situation? Where might you need to exercise more wisdom in your public actions?
  6. Read Matthew 7:1-2. What rock of judgement is in your hand that is keeping Jesus from having all of your heart? What can you do this week to release it?