3 Ways to Respond When You Feel Judged

I discovered last night that according to a certain blogger, I am an apostate. When I first read the headline of the blog, I was alarmed, and then I had to google “apostate” to make sure I knew exactly what I was being accused of!

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Ha! What I learned is that an apostate is a “person who forsakes his religion, cause, party, etc.” What?!? I hadn’t forsaken Christ or His truth! So, I scrolled through the blog to see why I was now an apostate, and realized this person had spent lots of time researching me to come up with this verdict. The blogger was the investigator, prosecutor, jury, and judge. And I was convicted and given an internet life-sentence based on the blogger’s opinion of my ministry!

I wondered — if this person was really that concerned, why didn’t they contact me instead of publishing the blog? Why didn’t they reach out to sincerely try to correct me instead of just throwing me under the proverbial bus? First, I felt hurt and embarrassed, but then, my anger flared. My fingers tingled with the urge to type a comment, “Hey there! This is Jennifer the apostate. How about you talk to me instead of about me so I can share with you my heart and respond to your concerns?”

But I didn’t. I don’t think it would have mattered. Besides, I didn’t need to go to the comment section; I needed to go to Scripture instead.

We all need to go to God’s Word when we encounter judgment.
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You know how this feels, right? When you’re misunderstood by others — when someone misjudges your motives or accuses you of something that you know in your heart isn’t true, it’s hard not to run and hide or go for their throats!

That’s why we all need to go to Scripture when we encounter judgment.

The Apostle Paul knew what it was like to be judged by others. Yet, whether they admired him or blamed him, it just didn’t seem to faze him. “…I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself.” 1 Corinthians 4:2-3

Paul wasn’t moved by man’s judgment and he didn’t fall into the trap of judging himself.

Instead, he left all judgment to the Lord Jesus: “My conscience is clear,” he said, “but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.” 1 Corinthians 4:4-5

If we try to figure out others’ motives, we’re judging. Trust Jesus to guide you into truth.
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Oh, sisters — that we would be the same. That we would not be moved by the judgment of others and that we wouldn’t even judge ourselves, but leave all the judgment to Jesus — the Righteous Judge!

So, just how do we do that? Here’s what I’m trying to do:

1. Resist the urge to judge others.

To judge means to “form an opinion or conclusion about someone or something.” When we judge, our opinion becomes the last word on someone’s life. Paul teaches us that Jesus is our judge, so instead of judging, we ask God for a discerning spirit. Webster defines discernment as: “the ability to see and understand people, things, or situations clearly.

The Holy Spirit does just that in us and for us. He guides us into truth. He makes us discerning by His counsel in our lives. We trust the Holy Spirit to reveal truth. We can’t try to figure out others’ motives; if we try to, we are judging.

2. Restrain yourself from self-judgment

If forming an opinion or conclusion is what it means to judge, then we need to leave the final assessment of ourselves to Jesus. He is a righteous judge. We can either be too harsh or too lenient when it comes to our opinions of ourselves. The One who created you and loves you is the final authority on who you are.

The One who created you and loves you is the final authority on who you are.
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You and I are quick to judge ourselves all wrong! We can have a deflated or inflated view of ourselves, but there is freedom in tabling our opinion of ourselves, isn’t there? The Holy Spirit will convict us of sin and righteousness so we can be our best selves. Ask the Holy Spirit for discernment when it comes to your life but leave the judging to Jesus!

3. Reserve judgment for Jesus

He is right and righteous. He judges with grace and mercy. “He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart.1 Corinthians 4:5

Oh sister, our hearts are often too cloudy to see ourselves, much less someone else clearly. We must trust the Holy Spirit to grant us discernment so we will know truth. We must also lean on the Holy Spirit to help us walk in love and promote unity in the body of Christ instead of promoting our opinions and unreliable perspectives.

Ask the Holy Spirit for discernment in your life, but leave the judging to Jesus.
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So, this girl is going to pray for the blogger who spent way too much time condemning me. (And, I’m not praying because I am super spiritual, I’m praying because I’m super needy!) This girl is also going to proceed on my knees —asking God to protect me from ever mishandling His word or judging myself or my brothers and sisters. All of us are just one prideful thought, one puffed up opinion of ourselves, or one snooty view of a sister away from being judgmental.

Lord, You alone are Judge. Give us discernment and grace in our relationships with each other. Forgive us for appointing ourselves judge. Please take Your rightful place in our hearts, in our relationships, in Your Church. Help our unity; forbearance and kindness toward each other honor You. Thank You that we don’t need to judge ourselves or each other. Thank You for being the loving Judge who always grants us grace and mercy. Amen.

In the comments below, share how you avoid judgment in others or yourself. Let’s encourage each other, sisters!

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