I find it funny (or, not so funny) how easily we Christians can judge one another. It’s true (and good) that we hold high standards for ourselves, but when our standards differ from those of other Christians around us, it suddenly becomes easy for us to judge them.
I have met some Christians who were easy to judge because of some obvious bad behavior of theirs. Maybe they drank too much or they used foul language. Because of their obvious flaw, they were easy to criticize. However, some of these people have been the most giving, most caring, and hardest working people I have ever met.
When you take a close look at their faith, they seem to measure faith differently… not by how polished or how immaculate they come across to others, but by how they hustle and sweat and strive for excellence behind the scenes. They almost seem to think that being Christlike is a matter of working hard and striving for excellence.
These “rough-around-the-edges” Christians, however, seem to find it easy to judge other Christians who aren’t constantly busy and who aren’t striving in the same ways, even though they may use much more tactful language and put a lot more effort into being cheerful and joyful. Because, these other Christians seem to think that being Christlike is a matter of always appearing loving, joyful, and approachable.
Yet, both of these types of Christians, despite their excellence in certain areas, find it easy to judge other other types of Christians who have completely different priorities yet, such as the Christians who place a high priority on dressing nicely, and who seem to think that faith is a matter of reverence, and that a person ought never enter the church building without wearing the most formal, presentable attire.
Do you see? Every one of these Christians define being “Christlike” in different ways. Each one seems to think that if people aren’t meeting the criteria that they look for personally, they must not be very Christlike. Even though, in fact, all these people are demonstrating Christlikeness in ways that they find important.
The point is that I think we should be careful not to judge others who are not like us or who have different standards than us. It is a very easy thing to do. We can easily do this when people vote differently than us or have different denominational beliefs than us, failing to see the one main thing that we all have in common — Christ Himself.
When our eyes are on Him, our petty differences seem to melt away, losing their power to divide. And, when we are acting judgmental, it may be a sign that our own eyes aren’t where they need to be… on Christ. He is the most important thing to focus on. When our eyes are on Him, we all quite naturally come together.
C J Kruse