“Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged. For you will be judged by the same standard with which you judge others, and you will be measured by the same measure you use.” (Matthew 7:1-2)
Lately, I’ve been hearing my children judging people unfairly. It isn’t merely coincidence that I, too, catch myself judging others harshly while I’m driving in traffic or standing behind someone with 15 items in the 10 items or less-Express lane. Maybe my children are following my judgmental attitude. I think all of us struggle with this. I want to share four ways we can extend grace to others and love people like Jesus.
The first way: Don’t criticize or find fault in others. A judgmental attitude is focused on deflection and denial of our own personal faults. We feel the need to criticize others in order to minimize our own faults. We try to tear down others so that we can build ourselves up. It’s impossible to give grace and be critical at the same time because being judgmental negates grace. So if you want love more like Jesus, stop criticizing others.
The second way: Separate the sin from the sinner. No one wants to be defined by their sins. When we screw up, we crave for grace and beg to not be judged. But when others mess up, we are quick to judge and label them. We need to imagine ourselves in that person’s position. If we choose to love like Jesus, we will be able to see the human beneath the ugliness of sin and that is choosing to give grace.
The third way: Don’t expect people to earn your respect, but give it away freely. If we want to love like Jesus, we must be willing to freely give our respect to others. When we extend respect to others, it puts us on equal ground with them. It forces us to view them as worthy.
The fourth way: Accept God’s unconditional love for us. All of us are trying to validate our own worth, hoping to not only prove that we’ve earned it, but that we deserve it, too. We love to get validation from people, but when it fades, we try to look elsewhere. This cycle of seeking validation will never end. Rather, we need to focus on God’s unconditional love for us because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. Let’s remember that because of Jesus, we are now a child of God.
Grace is unfair. It doesn’t make sense. Approaching others without judgment requires that we put aside whether they deserve it or not. Because if we want to love others like Jesus, we can’t limit grace for ourselves or anyone else.