“Don’t judge a man by where he is, because you don’t know how far he has come” CSLewis
I am a huge fan of C.S. Lewis. When I read the quote above, I twittered it because it is such a great reminder that all of us are on a journey. Since becoming a pastor over twenty five years ago, I have seen some amazing highs and lows on my own journey. I have accomplished some great feats and done some of the dumbest things as well. My words have built up and encouraged. Yet, they have torn down and discouraged too. My journey, like you, takes me forward.
One of my challenges that I have worked really hard to overcome is about being critical of others. Now, if someone is doing something destructive or harmful, I am going to call it out. Yet, most of the time, people do stuff with good intentions, but it just doesn’t work out they way it was expected to turn out. When I was younger, I would be critical and judge the person’s intentions and heart attitude. As I matured, I realized that I cannot judge a person’s heart. I cannot give an accounting for someone else’s attitude or approach to a situation. They have to own their own thoughts, behaviors and attitudes. I can model, coach and influence but in the end, it is their journey.
Matthew 7:1-2 NLT says, ““Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others.The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. As justified as I thought I was being critical of someone else, this verse brings me back to a very sober place. The Bible teaches us a very familiar constant – “What we sow, we will reap.” Look at your approach to other people and realize that is what you will get back. That might just stop you from judging, gossiping, or “sharing” things about others. It causes me to evaluate myself. While a situation’s results can be dissected, what am I gaining by judging someone else’s motive or attitude?
Jesus will be our judge and I would like grace and mercy in my circumstances. I hope those are included in yours as well.