How to Move From Judgment to Improvement


Before judging others, it is helpful to take a good look at yourself. We all need grace.

Judgment is ugly. You know it. I know it. And, yet, I still do it. A lot.

  • Can you believe they let their kids behave like that?
  • He must have no self-control if he still does that.
  • That barista sure is grumpy. She should get a different job.
  • The music at church needs to be faster… or slower, louder, quieter, repeated less, played better.
  • He’s been a Christian long enough to know better… or do better… or be better.
  • And on… and on… and on…

I can’t remember who said it – or even the context in which I heard it – but this person’s words have stuck with me for years:

Judgment comes when we identify someone else by their worst qualities and ourselves by our best qualities.


I know I’m guilty of this. If I am short with my wife or kids, or let a “golfing word” pass my lips, it’s just a mistake. But if someone else does that? Well, that must be the way they are all the time.

Like I said before: U.G.L.Y.

The topic of judgment surfaced recently when I preached a sermon at my home church. Our pastor was a few weeks into a series on Romans and I was just preaching the next sermon in line. The text was Romans 1:18-32. Oh how I wanted to fast forward to Chapter 5–or better yet–Chapter 8! But no. The text assigned to me begins with the words The wrath of God is being revealed… (And the rest of the chapter doesn’t get any better.)

In all transparency, my initial thoughts as I began to study the text were judgment. I superimposed the Paul’s descriptions and “lists” of sins on others. Oh yes. That IS terrible. How can people be like that? I am surrounded by so many sinners.

But God sighed and remained patient. Through His Living Word He began to ask me some questions. And you know what? They were all about me.

They weren’t accusatory. (As my words sometimes are.) They weren’t laced with condemnation. (As my thoughts frequently are.) I knew they were meant for my good. My maturity. My improvement in growing toward Christ-likeness.

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