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“Don’t judge me” is a statement echoed by the whole human race. We all feel uncomfortable when others impose definitions or expectations on us, because there is something in all of us that desires to be loved unconditionally. It is interesting that while we all feel this, we don’t always offer it readily to others. It goes against our “natural man” to love and accept unconditionally. The “natural man” automatically judges, because he thinks he knows the way things “should be”. In order to become un-judgmental, we must learn to understand that un-loving side of our nature.
When we experience a negative emotion or judgment against someone else, it is usually because we have a lack of peace inside US. We may feel justified in judging because it helps to take the focus and awareness from OUR private failings.
Turn Around principal
I have discovered a fascinating principle to help let go of judgment when it seems to get in the way. I call this principle, “Turn around judging,” When we feel ourselves judging someone, it is possible for us to use that negative feeling for OUR benefit. We can actually learn to turn around a thought or emotion to orchestrate change in ourselves.
Years ago, I was jolted to understand this concept. I was in a church meeting with my husband, and noticed that he kept nodding off. This wasn’t new. In fact, it happened quite often. This particular Sunday though, my self-righteous self raised its ugly head and I felt indignation that he could allow himself to do this. I didn’t buy into the “I’m just resting my eyes” story. I nudged him several times to wake up, and privately fumed that he wasn’t paying attention when he should be. At this judgmental moment, the Spirit conked me on the head saying, “Anne, do YOU always pay full attention in meetings?” Whoa! That hit me hard. The answer was, “NO! I DON’T always pay attention!”
Because I was humbled by the spirit, I was “shown” that I could use this experience to help ME be better. After that time, whenever I would see him (or anyone else) dozing, it was an opportunity to serve as a reminder for ME to check how much I was paying attention; nobody else.
Turnaround judging is a key that can open us up to awareness. Notice the judgments that you make. “She is so proud!” “He’s so disorganized,” “She is boring!” As you notice yourself making these judgments, turn them around and question YOURSELF: “She is so proud,” – turn it around to – “I am so proud!” or “Am I always humble?” Try that on. Does the turnaround speak truth? It did for me.
“He is so disorganized, “ could be, “I’M disorganized.” Think of ways where YOU lack, and cut him some slack.
Major Wake Up Call
I had a friend who shared an INCREDIBLE INSIGHT that she received in a very justifiable judging situation. Her husband had been heavy into pornography, and she understandably struggled with feelings of anger, betrayal and resentment. She had been in a very dark place, and in her attempt to gain balance, she went to the temple. While there she complained to God about how unfaithful her husband was, as she expressed all her negative emotions concerning him. She wanted comfort and validation from the Lord, but instead she said she heard a stern voice loud in her mind that said, “YOU are unfaithful!”
She was shocked at first, but it instantly became clear to her that even though her husband had a problem, he wasn’t the only one. He had been unfaithful to her, but SHE was being unfaithful to the Lord when she allowed herself to descend into darkness, self-pity, anger and resentment. She realized that the thing she needed to do was to focus on her own shortcomings, and stop spending so much time judging her husband. This realization had a freeing effect on her, and her husband. When people live in the energy of our judgment, it is much harder for them to fully repent. When she shifted, he was able to shift as well.
I want to be completely clear that when I talk about turning the judgment around, I’m not suggesting that we put ourselves down. It is actually liberating to embark on self-discovery. When we judge others, we are really judging ourselves, by revealing our own lack-level of spiritual maturity and ability to love. The good news is, once we begin to be aware of these things in ourselves, we are in a better position to transcend them.
We’re all in this earthly School trying our best to learn to be like God. Turnaround judging speeds up this process, because it shows us the parts of ourselves that we haven’t ever noticed before.
Examples of Turnaround Judging
“He never listens to me!” – becomes – “Do I always listen to him?”
“She’s such a gossip!” – becomes – “Do I speak only good of others?”
“She’s so overweight.” – becomes – “Do I always eat right?”
“He doesn’t treat me well.” – becomes – “Do I always treat HIM well?”
“She is very shallow!” – becomes – “Am I sometimes shallow?”
“She is so rebellious!” – becomes – “Do I sometimes rebel?”
“He is so stubborn!” – becomes – “Am I stubborn?”
Notice your judgments of others. They will open your eyes to show you what YOU need to improve. When we judge, we become like the condemnatory Pharisees that Jesus challenged with “He who is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone..” (John 8:7) Who are we “throwing stones” at? When we begin to ask the hard questions and become humble enough to see our own weakness, we lose our desire to point fingers.
The enquiries we ask ourselves should question OUR own faithfulness to the Lord instead of the faithfulness of others. Truth is, we will never have peace when we focus on the sins of others. If we look at others with humility and compassion, we might be able to understand the pain that causes them to do the thing we don’t like.
How to Un-Judge Others
- When you find yourself judging others, PAY ATTENTION to the judgments you are making.
- Turn that judgment around and see if YOU need the change you would like them to make. Does this negative behavior in others bother you because some of it is in you?
- If you determine you need to change, you can do it! When you turn judgment around, you open yourself up to see what you haven’t allowed yourself to see before, and what you haven’t allowed yourself to BE before. You begin to see yourself clearly, and the need to place judgments on others diminishes. Change comes when you focus on it, and allow that self-judgment to work inside you for your good.
One of the defining traits of the Savior is His ability to NOT condemn us. “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world.” (John 3:17) If we want to become like Him, we must learn this trait. When we can arrive at the point where we don’t condemn or label others and open OURSELVES to critical inquiry instead, we will come to a place of unconditional love. We no longer will be judging others or ourselves, because we will love who we have become.
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