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Percolated Perspectives

Therefore, every one of you who judges is without excuse. For when you judge another, you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the same things.

Romans 2:1 (CSB)


            Do you enjoy people watching? For many, this is a fun reason to visit a coffee house. Besides enjoying a good cup of joe, the people you will meet and view are so varied. Generally, people watching is a short lived, innocent, activity that is undertaken to pass the time, but in our culture today, the act of noticing and judging others is rampant. Social media does not help, either.

            The action of judgement is not a new movement, though. The Apostle Paul wrote about it in the1st century when he was writing to the Corinthians. These were a group of Christians, new to the faith, living in a society that was dealing heavily with sin and corruption. At the time, idol worship was widespread and Paul was asking them to behave differently. Not an easy thing to do as you might imagine. We deal with the same situations today as we try to navigate life, behaving as Christ asks us to, yet falling short in a world where others are behaving so differently. The Bible is so relevant, though. Paul was not just writing to the Corinthians, or the people in the town next door to us, or the ones we see on reality TV, he was writing to us as well. His words to the Corinthians are so very relevant to our humanity today.

            Paul was writing to these friends because he had heard about the disagreements and judgmental attitudes that were happening in their community. He knew they were struggling with idol worship, which is so similar to judging because we judge based on the things we idolize. It could be we are judgmental about the clothes others wear because to us, clothes make the person. Maybe we assess people based on the car they drive or the house they live in. This is a common critique usually stemming from jealousy.

            It has become increasingly noticeable in my circle in society how much people are judged for every little scenario. It seems as if we just want to talk about others in a negative fashion in order to bring more attention to ourselves. Gossip has become highly acceptable. We will even say things like, “Oh, I don’t want to talk bad about her, but…”. As if we are dying to chitchat about how wrong someone else is compared to the way we behave. Which, by the way, only comes from a self-centered heart and attitude. Jealousy is a severe form of selfishness.

            We live in a world today where people love to throw stones at others every day. They launch insults, just slightly behind others’ backs. People fling prejudice which is mostly a preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience. And, they do this only when it is safe, certainly not to a person’s face. They make a conclusion about a person solely based on viewing them from afar and disagreeing or feeling jealous of what they see. Then, once someone starts throwing stones everyone else starts to follow because for most people it is easier to follow the crowd then to do the right thing.  

            This is not unlike the story in John 8 where we find a woman who is about to be stoned by her peers for committing adultery. Haven’t we done the same type of thing to people we spend time watching? This is a story that plays out far too often in our world today. It doesn’t really matter if it is adultery or the fact that she committed a sin, it is more about how they reacted towards her. The same way we react when we see someone wearing shoes from Walmart, or shopping at the foodbank, or the person who treated you unkind, yet we don't know what may be going on in their life. We throw stones constantly and the stones we throw leave wounds and injure and kill the hearts of souls of the very people we need to love and bring to Christ.

            Jesus challenges us, just as he challenged the people in this scenario, to take a look at the sin that is within each of us before we choose to judge the people around us, even if those people never hear us judging. The habit of judging has become so ingrained and Christians do it just as easily. When was the last time you stopped mid-sentence and said, “wait, never mind, I don’t need to mention that”? Many times I have felt the nudge from the Holy Spirit speaking into my thoughts and asking me if I really need to say what I am about to say. Jesus asks us, as the Faithful, not to throw that stone until we look inside.

            When Paul wrote to the Romans he shared that they behaved just as awful as the Gentiles and would be condemned for their behavior as well. Thankfully, he shared that their was salvation in Christ and this was the only way we would be spared from our sins. The only way we will see Christ in glory will be to believe in Him and turn from the ways we choose to go.

It is not easy to be a people watcher and not want to discuss what we are viewing. People are worth watching because their hearts and souls are real and unique. Discussing the distinctiveness of people and watching in awe of God’s creations is a fabulous hobby. Noticing every person’s special ability, style, gifts, and goodness and acting on that beauty is what will bring people to know the grace of Jesus Christ. Throwing stones at them for being different, will only condemn ourselves and build a broken bridge to the Almighty Father.

I have judged others for not liking coffee as much as I do, and that is about to end. Enjoy your own hot beverage while watching others, and enjoy examining, in awe, the splendor of God’s creation.


A Prayer for Today

Jesus, the beauty in Your creation is powerful. Each person uniquely made and loved. Help me to notice what You have developed in every individual, rather than judging based on the way I feel. Forgive me for throwing stones, when I should have accepted and loved.


Today’s Challenge

Take time to notice when you are most judgmental. Begin to catch yourself when speaking about another person and choose to pause and change the conversation.

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