It’s rampant in the world today. It’s dripping off the tip of tongues. It’s an epidemic. Hypocrisy. Today’s society often connects the word hypocrisy with the word church. Church members judge one another by how many Ben Franklins they give, how expensive their Range Rover is, and what type of Armani suit or Marc Jacobs dress they wear when they come to church.
What happened to loving everyone as your neighbor? When Jesus lived on earth, He associated with the lowliest people imaginable. Prostitutes, Pharisees, thieves, slaves. Jesus not only associated with these people, He showed them love. He promised that despite their faults and mistakes He would love them. Despite the fact that society rejected them because of their outward appearances or actions, Jesus accepted them. Without hesitation, He demonstrated how to keep promises.
Jesus asked His followers to freely give of what they had, take up their crosses and follow Him. This was hard for many of the believers because some of them, such as Simon, were very wealthy. But Jesus Himself did everything He asked of His followers. He set an example by showing that He too was willing to give all that He had. He left heaven, willingly giving up His time, His heavenly home and—most importantly—His life.
Heart-to-Hearts With Jesus
Many people are guilty of hypocrisy. It seems to many young people that members are too busy preaching and judging one another to look at their own lives. Looking across the congregation on a typical Sabbath, I often see lots of pretty dresses off mannequins from Von Maur, perfectly coiffed hair and Michael Kors tailored suits. And I admit, my immediate reaction is to judge these people.
What would happen if we examined our own lives and motives and encouraged others because we knew that each person has his or her own struggles and life situation? Matt. 7:3-5 talks about the plank in my eye. Basically Jesus is saying we should examine our own lives before passing judgment on other people. We need to have heart-to- hearts with Jesus about our own lives before we can encourage others about theirs.
I am guilty of judging by outward appearances. I tend to be hypocritical because I appear to look “better” than certain individuals. Once I had a conversation with my mom that I’ll never forget. She told me, “Honey, you can’t always judge people by their appearances. If jeans and a T-shirt are the best they have to give God, at least they’re coming to church and honoring His Sabbath. We all commit sins. Some are just more public.”
As I thought about this, my eyes were opened. Mom was right. Who am I to judge someone because of their outward appearance? Or because they’re not giving enough time or money to the church? Have I examined my own situation?
We all commit sins. Some are just more public.
Like that passage in Matthew says, I need to first remove the plank from my own eye. Then I’ll be able to see clearly so I can help and encourage others instead of judging them.
Guest author Linee Morrison is a junior communication major from Cedar Rapids, Iowa attending Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska.
What Does Judging Really Mean?
Judging does not mean distinguishing right from wrong—that’s discerning. Rather, we should evaluate people’s actions. Not judging means refraining from evaluating motives. We don’t know what people are going through behind closed doors. There is also nothing in the past, present or future that gives us a right to pass judgment on someone’s eternal salvation or friendship with God because He is the ultimate judge.