Ellen Martin | @ellenmartin03
Have you ever felt judged when you walked into a church? Let’s get more real: Have you ever judged someone either in or out of church?
I have been judged.
And I am guilty of judging others.
Unfortunately I think it’s safe to say that most people have both judged and been judged. Judgement in church is a huge problem. As a teen, one of the reasons that I stopped going to youth group was because I felt that I wasn’t “good enough” to be with the other people there. My heart breaks for those who feel judged in church on a regular basis because they aren’t “good enough” in the congregation’s eyes. In a way, no one is “good enough”. No one deserves the grace of God. Despite this, Jesus died for everyone.
Let’s be real with each other. We are all sinners. We all need Jesus’ forgiveness. Should we dwell on our past mistakes? No, we need to grab hold of the new creation Christ makes us. Should we recognize that we all need grace and forgiveness? Yes.
Jesus addresses the action of judging others. On one occasion, a woman who was caught in the act of adultery was brought to Jesus. The Pharisees (teachers) questioned Jesus on what to do, since the law states that she must be stoned.
John 8:7 says “And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:9-11 concludes the story saying, “But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.””
None of us are without sin, so who are we to judge others? Jesus addresses the pointing out the wrong in others in Matthew 7:3-5: “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.”
We are all sinners. We all have our own issues to work on. Hebrews 10:24 says “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works”.
We are to encourage one another to do good works and to love. No one has their life together. Everyone sins daily. We all need encouragement to keep up the good fight and live according to the Word of God.
Perhaps if we were more eager to recognize our faults and were open to sharing our struggles, others would feel more welcomed in church. I encourage you to seek out those that seem “less than” you and learn from them! We all have a story to tell of how the grace of God transformed our lives.
Ellen Martin is a follower of Jesus Christ from Ontario, Canada. She is currently completing her Master’s of Education degree. She is passionate about apologetics, creation, and children. You can follow her on Twitter at @ellenmartin03.