08.02.2012

A lesson from a former judgmental snob

Emily E. Ryan POSTED BY Emily E. Ryan

It seems rare that I actually learn a lesson the easy was as opposed to the hard way, but such a case actually occurred this week. And because it had everything to do with being judgmental, a topic Laurie addressed last week on Front Porch Friday, I had to share it with you.

First of all, let me get it out there: I am a recovering judge. Not the good kind, who approaches sinners in love and addresses sin in a biblical manner. But the bad kind, who casts judgment with a condescending glance, a whispered tsk-tsk, and a nose held high enough to direct airplanes to their proper runways.

Yeah, I was that kind of judge.

Thankfully, I have matured a lot in my adult years and have learned a lot about how to wrap everything in love, just as Christ modeled for us on earth. So as a reformed, recovering former judgmental snob, I’d like to share with you the #1 lesson I’ve learned about being judgmental:

Non-Christians cannot be expected to act like Christians.

There were times, especially in high school, when I would guilt, shame, and even embarrass other people for their actions – things like drinking, smoking, seeing bad movies, sexual immorality. In my mind, it was more important that the person clean up her act than it was that she surrender her heart to Christ. I was putting the cart before the horse. Since then I’ve seen firsthand that, when Jesus enters a person’s heart, actions begin to change on their own. But rarely does it happen without Him.

When Jesus encountered people who were caught in sin, first He showed them love, (the woman at the well, the woman caught in adultery), then He told them to go and sin no more. He never insisted they stop sinning first.

I recently interviewed one of my friends for an upcoming article in our church magazine. She is a wonderful, godly woman… now. But her past, before she came to know Christ, involves a lot of poor choices, including three abortions which were the subject of the interview.

The moment that probably shocked me the most during her testimony (which I plan on sharing with you sometime next month), was when she admitted how terrified she was to tell anyone in the church about her past abortions. She was afraid of judgment, like perhaps some secret church Gestapo would call her out on a Sunday morning and insist that she quit serving in the church and instead hold her head in a state of perpetual shame while donning a scarlet letter or something.

She confided in me a couple of years ago, but what she didn’t tell me until recently was that I was her litmus test! She tested her secret out on me to see if I would pick up a stone or give her a hug. When I accepted her past as just that – her past – it was the first step she needed in overcoming that dark time in her life and seeking further healing. Now, not only has she gone through a life-changing abortion recovery class, she is sharing her story with others who need healing at a local pro-life center.

It made me realize just how important it is that I not condemn others for sin that they’ve already confessed and been forgiven from. It’s in the past, and it’s forgiven.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (2 Cor. 5:17)

So when you hear about a person’s life before she came to know the Lord, don’t hold it against her. Instead, praise God that she has been rescued from her past and pray that He gives her a ministry with her testimony.

Likewise, if a friend is a non-believer and making poor choices, focus on loving her like Christ did instead of condemning her like the Pharisees did.

Q: What lessons have you learned about being judgmental?


Emily E. Ryan is the Executive Editor of Priority Ministries and the author of three books including Guilt-Free Quiet Times and Who Has Your Heart? Connect with Emily on Facebook and Twitter.



8 comments on “A lesson from a former judgmental snob

    debbie@owenstransport.com' Debbie says:

    Emily. The very best I can say here is, “Thank You Father God for this young woman’s heart for YOU!!!!!” It is ONLY when we get loser to Him
    that we begin to really see how He & it ALL works. So, it tells us exactly where you are……wrapped tightly in His arms. ;). And it can’t get any better than that.

    debbie@owenstransport.com' Debbie says:

    But what I HAVE learned about “””judging others””” is this. IF I point a finger at someone, I should know, I’ve got 3 pointing right back at myself. We don’t receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves AFTER a journey that no one can take for us or spare us. 1Samuel 16:7……The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. (Thank Goodness) man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart. And so we can say, ” you can disguise yourself from men…..BUT GOD KNOWS YOUR HEART. When we begin to have victory over sin…..sometimes, it’s very easy to start being judgemental….then we just have to PAUSE & remember, how & why He died for us. Sinless himself, he took on ours……..I remain in AWE.
    😉 correction on the comment b-4…..it’s closer not loser…..

    babblingbrooketrout@yahoo.com' Awesome says:

    The closer I get to Christ the more pissed off,”Christians,” make me, with their competitiveness. Being involved in the church from leaders to visitors, has become a competition of who is better at being a Christian.
    Snobby is. Thinking better of oneself in a mythological nature. A form of discrimination and power play with abuse. Like the high school bully.
    Then comes the social etiquette of a Kindergartners actions at play. The more I get to know Jesus the more I respect agnostics for being who they are based on the actions of snobby Christians.
    EVERY SINGLE ATHIEST I know, became one because of Bible thumpers, thumping away.
    Good going church. You’re arrogance and non selflessness and self love rather than unconditional love, has ran off some of the most beautiful, Christians in God’s Kingdom: therefore YOU, are doing the enemies work!
    That’s not spirit led. That is fleshly.

    billie.huffman.14@facebook.com' Bj says:

    Sadly ppl are turned away because of these ppl..I was maybe still am one..I think wow this is how jesus ppl act??no thanks..but got to think maybe gods mad at the majority for messing up the message idk

    j19732011@yahoo.com' jizzy says:

    yeah but you just wrote a huge article bashing folks for doing wrong, and weren’t unconditional whatsoever , that’s what they were doing which caused you to do it now, see how it works. Its a trap, a snare, it works to enrage you against others sins and then causes you to do the exact same sin, this was not self defense, this was you doing what they do, Bashing and thumping and why? because they are bashing and thumping. lol! I love it!

    thedavisgroup@msn.com' JenniferAnnieD says:

    Listen I don’t speak for everyone however at least you have enough guts to say you were wrong and made a change for the better. Are there things I would like to change about myself for the better a couple. However, my approach with the Christian gal group was not a good experience as I was outcasted and looked down upon. It’s been since 2012 and alot of nasty things were said about me at the time because I was out of work and unemployed ( not much has changed). Only because of the economy. Any how I learned to heal from the way I was judged and know that we are Christians for a reason. I am the type that goes to Church to Love God and hopefully reach out to people whom want to embrace the love and kindness together. Anyways, like I say good for you for making the change. As everyone goes through their you know what. Take care and hopefully most of us can change together and stop reviewing the faults of others and ourselves. God Bless.

    JW@aol.net' TheSeriousTruth says:

    Very Snobby women are Everywhere these days Unfortunately which is a very Excellent Reason why many of us Good men are still Single today.

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