How to Know If You’re Being Judgmental or Showing Good Judgment

“She shouldn’t have done that.” “How could she think that?” “I can’t believe she actually went there!” “I would never do that…”

Sound familiar? Anyone ever whispered phrases like that in your ear? Or, have you ever muttered them under your breath?

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I’ve heard that kind of stuff and said that junk and thought it too! When it comes to being judgmental, I admit, I have blown it!

But, I don’t want to be a judgmental woman; I want to be a woman of good judgment.

So, what is the difference?

When we show good judgment, we are applying discernment.

Discernment sees right and wrong. Discernment is able to judge rightly.

When you are showing good judgment — when you discern something that isn’t quite right, it strikes a chord in your heart… usually an out-of-tune, dissonant chord. It’s like smelling something stinky and wanting to sniff out the source. That is a spiritually mature impulse.

Let’s not be judgmental women, let’s be women of good judgment. [Click to Tweet]
But, we can take that good impulse and turn it into bad behavior.

Just as quickly as a toddler goes from total contentment to a total meltdown, we can go from humble discernment to haughty judgementalism!

It’s all in how we handle the discernment.

Here are 4 ways to determine if you are being judgmental or showing good judgment:

1. Quick to elevate me
Do I feel better about myself because she is so much worse than I am? 
If we observe someone’s brokenness and go straight to pride about our own apparent wholeness, then we are being judgmental. Knowing truth of Scripture and using it as a magnifying glass to point out what she is doing wrong so it can spotlight what we are doing right is a big red flag that we are in judging mode.

The ground at the foot of the cross is perfectly level. [Click to Tweet]
When we see something wrong in another woman’s life, we shouldn’t feel worse about her, we should feel worse for her. Her mistake shouldn’t make us feel better about ourselves, but, worse FOR her. She needs our sympathy, not our censorship. The ground at the foot of the cross is perfectly level, you aren’t higher and she isn’t lower.

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2. Quick to gossip
When I see something questionable in her life, do I go talk to God about her or do I talk to everyone else about her?
Gossip is the megaphone of a judgmental spirit. If we are quick to share the, “you won’t believe…” or “did you hear that she…” then chances are, you have jumped on your high horse and are galloping up the high hill of judgementalism.

Gossip is the megaphone of a judgmental spirit. [Click to Tweet]
Before we ever talk about her or even to her, we must talk to God. And, when we talk to God, she isn’t the first person on our prayer list — we are. We seek to be pure before God and ask Him to affirm what we have discerned. Then, if He leads us, we talk to her. But, Christian sisters… we do not talk about her! Sometimes we act like we are not doing this when we really are — we gossip in the spiritually accepted practice of giving our “prayer requests!”

Pray for her, giving her the dignity and respect she deserves. Her behavior may not warrant respect, but she does because she, like you, is loved by God.

3. Quick to critique
Do I have a critical spirit when it comes to her behavior or a compassionate perspective?
Judgmental women are critical of others. If she did it wrong, or not in the way we would have done it, then she is subject to our criticism.

Compassion feels love, criticism thinks legalism. [Click to Tweet]
But compassion tries to see all sides of an issue. Compassion feels love whereas critics think legalism.

We have all blown the “thou shall” and “thou shalt nots” of Scripture. But, God does not treat us as our sin deserves. (Psalm 110) He shows us compassion and if we are truly discerning women, we discern the compassion God gives us and we give it to others.

4. Quick to conclude
Do I come to a quick and easy conclusion about her and/or her behavior or do I consider what could be going on in her life?
There is a tip to every iceberg and usually, that is all you can see. If you assess the whole iceberg from the tiny tip you can see, chances are that you will have no real idea of what is under the surface. Sure, you may see her behavior and it is clearly, undoubtedly wrong, but knowing her behavior is wrong and choosing to determine that she has the wrong motives or the wrong intention are not the same things.

Let’s be part of the solution not add to the problem. [Click to Tweet]
When we’re judgmental, we use our good judgment as if it is a crystal ball through which we and we alone, can figure out everything about her heart. Sister, you know we can’t do that, and even if we could, we shouldn’t. It’s not our business to determine her motives.

Instead of concluding, we consider. We use our discernment to think more deeply, imagine what she is dealing with or how she may be misguided to say such a thing or act that way. We consider how we can be part of her solution rather than add to her problem.

God is the only wise Judge and He judges with mercy.

So, if we’re starting to get judgmental, let’s fall off our high horses — or high heels — and land on our knees before God. Let’s humble ourselves before the Lord, seek His forgiveness and represent His merciful heart.

Let’s be women who judge rightly and love generously.[Click to Tweet]

Let’s be the women who judge rightly and at the same time, love generously! Amen.