October 2, 2012
We have seen many famous people fall from high places due to extramarital or unethical wrongdoing: Tiger Woods, Charlie Sheen, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lindsay Lohan, John and Kate plus 8, Paris Hilton, Ben Roethlisberger, Michael Vick, and various politicians. It’s so tempting and easy to look down on and judge these once mighty people. At times it even feels like harmless fun to kick them while they’re down and rub salt in their wounds, especially if they were arrogant and acted like they were above the law.
I’ve been guilty of falling into this trap myself, making callous comments and assuming I am better than some fallen person because I am in a better place in my life at that moment. We all have skeletons in our closets, insecurities, and shameful mistakes we’ve made. To make ourselves feel better we look down on others. If we are using these events to educate others about appropriate behavior, a constructive process is possible. What we need to do instead of gossiping about or belittling others is to raise our level of play in life and show what healthy, God-honoring, and fulfilling living really looks like.
On the flip side, I have also felt the pain of being looked down upon … being judged by others. And as you know, there’s no fun in that. We often think that the person looking down on us is so mean for not taking time to understand the reasons we struggle. We may even pledge, “I would never look down on someone like that.”
Looking down on others is drastically different from the more caring act of noticing someone’s difficulties, being compassionate, and wanting to help them. Looking down on others really exhibits a survival of the fittest mentality … taking from someone for my own advancement. This is the opposite of God’s system, which is based on love. Love means that those who are fit actually give, sacrifice, look out for, and help other people. Real love and compassion feel and share the pain of the one who is struggling. Condemning is about pushing down and taking something from somebody, and isn’t consistent with God’s methods and plan for us.
Today, be mindful that we are called by God to be disciples, not judges. Be aware of looking down on others … because our Lord is the only one who has the right to look down on you. Instead, He loved you and gave His life for you. If you find yourself tempted to look down on someone, remember it is harmful to you and the other person, and it’s certainly disrespectful to God. If you know someone who is struggling with an addiction or mental health issue, don’t condemn, but call our helpline so we can extend God’s love and find help for them. Whether you pile on judgment or really help someone is your decision, so choose well.
Dear Father, I confess, Lord, that I have been guilty of judging others. I know I have fallen into this sinful pattern because it gives me the false perception that I am better than those I judge. I wrongly believe it takes the heat off me. Help me, Father, to live by your word to “judge not.” Let me have compassion and love for those in my life who have done wrong. Instead of judging others, help me be a lighthouse to them in their time of need. Help me minister Your word so that I may comfort and guide them. Also Father, help me forgive those who judge me instead of giving them authority over me by accepting their condemnation. I pray in the name of the One who never looked down on anyone, Jesus Christ; and all God’s people say – AMEN!
Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Matthew 7:1-3
Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? Romans 2:1-3