What's Wrong With Judging Others, Part 1
If we take just a minute and think about what it actually takes to judge another person fairly, we will quickly realize that we do not possess this ability. I can immediately think of two very important things that we do not have.
1. We lack full knowledge of the person being judged.
To begin with, we usually have no idea where the other person has been, what shaped them into who they are, or why they think the way they do. A person's background and past experiences make a big difference in who they are today. Perhaps, if we had been in the other person's shoes, we might think or act in a similar way to what we find objectionable.
Really, we can only see people from the outside. We can never see them from the inside as they see themselves or as God sees them. Even if we are very close to someone, we still do not always understand his or her heart and mind completely. None of us can see things from God's perspective, and we would do well to remember this.
2. We are not morally faultless.
We all like to think we're pretty good people, but if we're honest, most of us probably think we are better morally than we actually are. This makes it less likely that we can judge fairly. After all, a judge that has blind spots due to his own faults is going to make mistakes. How can we still think that judging others is a good idea if we know that we make mistakes?
God has the ability to do judge fairly, because He is morally faultless and has complete knowledge of those He is judging. He is in a position to both know the full story as well and make a judgment without having any blind spots. Of course, none of us is God.
So, what are we humans to do?
Can we never talk about serious issues or have conversations about controversial topics? If a good friend is going down a bad path, can we not say something? If that person really is our friend, would we not be obligated?
The issue we are dealing with is this: It makes a lot of sense to say that we should never judge others. There are too many things wrong with human judgment for us to be fair. On the other hand, there are quite a lot of things wrong with the world; you only have to open your eyes to know that. However, if we have no ability to know which things need to be fixed and which ones don't, how can we progress in this world?
We will take a look at that question in "What's Wrong With Judging Others, Part 2."