How can I overcome a judgmental spirit?
As God worked in our family over the years, He convicted us to obey a number of Biblical principles. Our commitment to obey the Lord brought freedom to us because we loved the Lord and it allowed us to serve Him without distractions. Romans 12:2 states, “Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
These convictions also led to our family becoming very different from the world and even from the church. Being convinced that we were walking in obedience to God, it became easy for us to judge others who were not following the same path. Though we held Biblical convictions, God showed us that we fostered a judgmental spirit that was not pleasing to Him.
We found that although we looked “good” on the outside, our hearts were not always pleasing to the Lord. It is true that man sees the outward appearance and we should encourage others by our appearance and lifestyle, but the condition of our heart before God is most important.
Looking back, we can see how we offended others who did not uphold the same Biblical principles. Through our judgmental attitude, we alienated them by giving the impression of superiority, causing them to close their hearts to any fellowship or testimony that we could share. The answer to this problem was not to forsake the convictions the Lord had given us, but to uphold the second commandment, which is to love others as we love ourselves. (See Mark 12:31.)
We sought the Lord about developing a balance of discernment without judging others, and we discovered what the Scriptures teach about God’s mercy. God spoke to us through specific verses such as James 2:13, “For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.”
God brought our attention to areas in our lives where we deserved His judgment and needed His mercy. We wanted God to show mercy to us, but we had failed to show mercy and love to those who did not uphold the same convictions. We did not want to receive His judgment because we withheld mercy from others! “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again” (Matthew 7:1–5).
We realized that our lack of love for those who did not hold the same standards grieved the Lord. We needed to seek cleansing for our hearts, and then reach out to others in love without compromising our family’s convictions. We asked the Lord to give us mercy instead of judgment and to provide wisdom to train our family to live according to His principles.
As we asked the Lord for His direction in this area, He prompted us to memorize and meditate on Romans 14. This chapter discusses God’s design in calling and equipping unique members to carry out His work in the world. We realized that we do not have the answers for every person, but the Holy Spirit does. It is His job to convict them, and not ours. Instead of seeing faults, we began to see needs, which caused us to have compassion for others instead of a judgmental spirit. As a result, the Lord gave us mercy and love for others, and provided grace for our family to continue to follow Biblical principles. As a family, we seek to surround our children with wise people and with other families who are living by the principles of God’s Word, remembering that “he that walketh with wise men shall be wise” (Proverbs 13:20).
Over the years, we have seen the Lord open many doors to our ministry as we have sought to obey the two greatest commandments: to love God and to love others as ourselves. It comes as no surprise that the love of Jesus attracts others! By His grace working through us, we have seen His love touch people’s hearts in powerful ways.
Related Command of Christ
This testimony illustrates the commands of Christ to Judge Not (see Matthew 7:1–3) and to Love Your Neighbor(see Matthew 22:39–40). George and Claudia realized that a judgmental spirit grieved the Lord, and they took steps to lead their family in loving others while still maintaining Biblical convictions. As a result, God blessed their ministry and widened their sphere of influence.