We all judge each other. Sometimes we're right, and often we're wrong. You may think of yourself as more of a "grace person," but do you give grace even when you don't receive it? It takes intense grace to show love to someone who is putting you down. Let's be honest; we usually reciprocate conflict by taking it even further. We let go of our pride when we learn how to give grace to judgmental people.
Grace is a concept that does not come naturally to anyone. We learn about grace through example and empathy. Jesus showed us the perfect fullness of grace when He died on the cross for our sins. He died for those who were still His enemies.
"For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!" - Romans 5:10
We all know someone who has to criticize everyone around them. What we don't see is when we become self-righteous toward that person. I know I've had moments where I made matters worse because I responded with haughty retorts. When I look back, I see the opportunities I missed to give perspective and receive it.
When we assume that someone is "heartless" based on their attitude, we lack empathy as much as they do. Love does not ignore persecution, but it does overcome it. When we lead with grace, we open a path to communication and change. That person who makes snide comments? Maybe they are worried and don't know how to express their emotions. If you tell them how you feel and ask for an explanation, you will have a chance to give insight. We cannot succeed with grace alone, but it should be our first step.
None of us are perfect. Jesus saves us with His unconditional love. We become self-righteous when we don't accept that we cannot earn His love. We judge because we want to spread our truth. Even when our concerns are valid, we don't change lives by looking down on others. Judgment is a reality that has a time and place. We have to judge people who commit crimes so we can uphold justice and safety. We use judgment to avoid bad situations. God wants us to act with discernment but not condemnation.
People who spew hateful judgments have a reason they do it. They justify it because they think it is how they prove their worth. In response, we hate the "haters" and believe we are better. We judge because it's easier than compassion. We are all broken people who find our worth when we choose to love. It's harder for us to give grace to someone judgmental because our instinct is self-defense. "If I don't point out their faults, won't that make them look right about mine?" No. We win hearts through action, not comparison. If we based our value on a list of our sins, we would each have too many to count. God is the only one who sees all our faults and loves us equally. When we follow His example, we show compassion to everyone, even those who ridicule us.
To lead with grace is to forgive rather than look for transgressions. If you walk up to someone and say, "Don't you see how wrong you are?" you shouldn't expect them to agree with you. Chances are, they will try to ignore you or respond with contempt. What if it's the other way around? When someone attacks your character, the go-to response is to retaliate. To care requires honesty, but the key is to approach with grace first. No matter who the person is, you can address your pain and still show love.
We've all done something that we don't want anyone to know. If the world could see every thought I've had, I wouldn't blame the critics. Every one of us deserves judgment, yet we receive forgiveness from Jesus. When we keep guilt close, our exhaustion makes us tense and defensive. It takes acceptance to give grace when confronted with disdain. Our spite toward judgmental people is a reflection of us, not them. It means we should ask ourselves if we have entirely embraced forgiveness. When we face our imperfections and know that love covers them all, we have the confidence to reach out a hand to our tormentors. God sees the darkest thoughts we have about one another and always offers His grace. We don't share the truth by hating on human weakness; we change the world by loving people.
Written Content Coordinator at Sun Valley Community Church. An avid writer since the age of 5, who loves to explore new ideas and places. Inspired by Jesus, books, and travel.