Set Yourself Free from Judging Others

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Today I feel compelled to share about something that has been one of the greatest keys for me personally, for staying on track in the call of God, especially when I have been hurt.

That is, breaking free and staying free from having a judgmental attitude towards individuals, leaders and ministries.

This is especially important in church life.

Jesus taught us to be fruit-testers—to weigh up whether a prophetic ministry that purports to be from God is actually of Him by examining the fruit. (Matt 7:15-19) The Apostle Paul warned leaders to be alert for ‘wolves,’ teachers who would distort the Gospel. (Acts 20:28-31)

However, I have learned that there is a difference between God-honouring discernment that protects the church, and passing judgment in such a way that damages others and us.

What does ‘Do Not Judge’ Mean?

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Jesus, Matt 7:1-2).

Jesus made it clear that we are not to judge others.

Many of us would be aware of this command. However, if someone accused us of ‘judging’, we would be quick to refute it, mentally if not verbally.

Yet it is likely that each of us make judgments frequently. This is because summing other people up—and finding them lacking—is an inherent part of our culture today. It is also a common response when we have been hurt or wounded by someone.

But what does the Bible say?

A study of the New Testament Greek word translated ‘judge’ reveals that it means to decide the rightness or wrongness of something. In its simplest form, ‘krino’ simply means to form an opinion about whether something is right or wrong, good or bad, approved or disapproved. [1]

When Jesus used the term in Matt 7:1-2, he was warning us against condemning or passing sentence on others. Why? Only God can truly judge the heart and intent of people.

Some Signs we are Judging Others

Unsure about whether or not you are being judgmental of a person or a leader? Here is a checklist of some things to watch for:

1. A Blockage in our Ministry

Holding on to judgements, negative opinions and a critical attitude will affect our spiritual progress and our ministry. In prophetic ministry, judgment affects us like a blindfold across our spiritual eyes. It stops us seeing people as the Father sees them. [2]

If we hold judgments against a leader, it will affect our ability to serve him or her wholeheartedly.

Likewise, holding a judgement against ministers or leaders will block the flow of their ministry to us—we will not be able to receive God’s intended blessing through them.

2. A Negative Opinion

When we judge, we are forming a negative opinion of others based upon:

  • Something they have said or done
  • Something someone else has reported about them
  • The way they look, or how circumstances appear
  • A prejudice or preconceived opinion

When someone commits a wrongdoing, we cross the line to judgement when we label him or her a wrongdoer.

Just as a court judge has the power to pass sentence and send a person to imprisonment, we too imprison people and ourselves with our views and opinions.

3. Disapproval

A judgment will colour our viewpoint of someone negatively. A common way that judgments manifest is in the form of an attitude of disapproval.

Our disapproval will in turn influence others, who pick up it up from us.

4. Criticism

“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.’ (James 3:9).

A criticism is simply a vocalised judgment. “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). We have already passed sentence by the disapproval in our hearts; this is now reinforced by our words, which we inevitably share with others.

5. Superiority

By judging another person or group, we are placing ourselves on a higher level. Sometimes we may even consider this justified, especially if we believe we hold the moral high ground.

James tells us that there is only one judge—God. (See James 4:11)

What To Do About Judgments

If you recognise that judgments have affected you in your personal, church or ministry life, you may find the following steps helpful:

Recognise them

An excellent way to do this is to listen carefully to what comes out of your mouth! Ask yourself the questions,

  • ‘What negative opinions do I have about other people and leaders?’
  • ‘What do I disapprove of?’
  • ‘How have I labelled them—summed them up?’

Now, call these responses by the name of the sin that they really are: judging.

Renounce them

You may find it helpful, as I once did, to write out your judgments and renounce them one by one. [3] Intentionally replace every negative opinion with a positive one. Replace criticism (cursing) with blessing.

Re-examine the Cause

Take another look at the action that caused you to make it in the first place:

  • If the judgment arose from a hurt, do you need to forgive? Or do you need to receive God’s comfort and healing?
  • Is the area you have judged the other person in, something that you yourself have a weakness in? (See Matt 7:2-4)

But the Person was Wrong!

So if we cannot judge someone, does that mean that we cannot take an appropriate warning concerning his or her actions to a leader? Does it mean that we cannot bring correction or adjustment when it is needed? Does it mean that we have to trust someone who has hurt us again?

No, no and no.

What it does mean is that we step down from our high platform of judgment and onto the common ground of grace—the knowledge that we too have sinned. And from that place, allow Biblical wisdom, humility and the love of God to guide our responses.


Notes:

1. Strongs Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. 1996.  Ref 2919, krino, to judge.

2. See Prophesying out of God’s Love

3. This article is an adapted excerpt from my book, ‘Prophetic People in a Changing Church’ in which I share my own journey of freedom.


Related Posts:

6 Doorways To Discouragement In Church Life

Break Free Of Hurts That Are Blocking Your Spiritual Gift

Why Is My Spiritual Gift Or Ministry Not Being Released?


Can you think of any other ways in which judgments can affect you? Or do you have a question or testimony about breaking free from judgments? Leave a comment in the comments box. If it is not visible, click on this link and scroll down.


© Helen Calder Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching

On team with David McCracken Ministries: Prophetic Ministry That Empowers The Church

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8 thoughts on “Set Yourself Free from Judging Others

  1. wildlittlefan

    Dear Helen,

    Thank you for this teaching . It is important to be aware of what we think and what will comes out from our mouth. May God help me to be a more positive person and always ask the Holy Spirit to stop me before I will judge others. God bless you.

  2. kavitha

    Yes, knowingly or unknowingly we have been judging other in many areas and individuals.But I understood how it leaves a scar ans paralyses our minstry.

  3. Nicky

    I am still struggling with this. So if a person hurts me and continues to hurt me, it is wrong for me to label them as a wrong doer? I don’t classify such a one as my friend anymore and I don’t trust them with my life or my spiritual growth. I am not sure how to overcome that. I did not know that it was wrong to “classify” a person as “so and so” when actually that what they are doing and continue to do. Wouldn’t I be in denial and setting myself up for more hurt if I don’t acknowlege the issue/hurt for what it is?

  4. Helen Calder Post author

    Hi Nicky,
    If someone hurts you, especially if there is a pattern of hurt, you are right in saying they are not a ‘friend’ to you, and also have a right not to trust them. (see John 2:23-25) Acknowledging your hurt (which is right) and passing judgment are two different things.

    You set yourself free by removing yourself from the abuse, but also by forgiving, and part of the process of forgiving is releasing them from judgment. It’s OK (and very natural) to struggle with this, but I do encourage you to continue to pray and ask God what response you can make that honours the Holy Spirit within you, honours His leadership in your life and releases you from the pain.

  5. Jill

    This is good teaching. I recently went through some turmoil at church due to accusations against the team leader by other senior leaders. Instead of adressing the issues we, the leader and I got into a ‘lock down.’ We felt we couldn’t trust the senior leadership etc etc. it grew so big that it almost destroyed the team. Eventually I knew that I had to repent of my attitude & disrespect of leadership. God worked all atound to unravel it all to us building better relationship. God is working on me in my pride, arrogance & accusations. There is one thing I know for sure. It’s better to be right with God than ‘proved right’ by man. Oh, to be a door keeper in the house of God.

  6. Helen Calder Post author

    Hi Jill, wow Holy Spirit has been working wonderfully in your life, such a powerful testimony. It’s also the story in my book, ‘Prophetic People In A Changing Church.’ I would love to share it with you, so if you would like the ebook, send me an email and I will reply with a copy.

  7. T

    Loving these articles, at last a place I can ask the questions which has been bugging me.

    (Quote) Jesus taught us to be fruit-testers—to weigh up whether a prophetic ministry that purports to be from God is actually of Him by examining the fruit. (Matt 7:15-19) The Apostle Paul warned leaders to be alert for ‘wolves,’ teachers who would distort the Gospel. (Acts 20:28-31) (unquote) – taken from https://www.enlivenpublishing.com/blog/2012/11/26/set-yourself-free-from-judging-others/

    VS

    (Quote) We may have made a genuine mistake in the use of our gift, but leadership of the situation was handled badly (unquote) taken from https://www.enlivenpublishing.com/blog/2011/11/28/break-free-of-hurts-that-are-blocking-your-prophetic-gift/

    (Quote) We do not criticise or judge babies who are learning to crawl or walk—in fact we celebrate their efforts. And yet it is amazing how quickly we Christians judge one another when we are stumbling through learning stages in our spiritual gifts (unquote) – taken from https://www.enlivenpublishing.com/blog/2011/11/28/break-free-of-hurts-that-are-blocking-your-prophetic-gift/

    Comparing these above quotes with one another I find it a bit difficult to grasp when someone is a false prophet and when someone is not. If someone has made a mistake in their prophetic ministry due to their own understanding/behavior; or because they’re still a learner in this gift/ministry, can they thus be called a false prophet?

    Or if they had a “bad day” (maybe going through their own emotional issues) and unintentionally uttered negative to fellow person, and this person summed them up according to their fruits, and came to the conclusion that they must thus be false, because of Matt 7:15-19, does this person who showed their “bad side” have a false gift/ministry?.

    Is “fruits” our behavior (patient, loving etc), or the doctrine we share (Grace vs Law)?

    Thanks

    1. Helen Calder Post author

      Thank you for the questions, your deeper thinking on this subject is very refreshing!
      I’m not sure that I can provide an easy answer as I believe that there are Biblical principles that need to be weighed up on a case by case basis.
      On one hand, if you have someone who is claiming to be a Prophet, i.e. prophetic office, who is using a ‘Thus saith the Lord’ approach (not presenting the word in a way that invites the recipients to prayerfully weigh it up) who has a wrong word…that certainly needs to be addressed and called out. To use the term ‘false prophet’ is very extreme and should be used with a great deal of care (and the fear of God). I think that kind of judgment call is best left to those who are in 5-fold oversight and have a good reputation and track record themselves.

      The other instance relates to those who are growing in the prophetic gift who may make mistakes along the way. Having an insight weighed up (which infers it may not fully be of God) does not mean someone is a false prophet, although consistently ‘off’ words may mean the person is operating out of the wrong spirit.

      Behaviour and doctrine are both important. As far as fruit…I look to the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5) but also the outcome. The fruit as in the outcome of a word from God is that people should be led to encounter God and His grace, the church will be built up (1 cor 14:4), when they respond to that word.

      This article may provide some more food for thought: https://www.enlivenpublishing.com/blog/2015/03/03/when-can-we-say-prophecy-is-from-the-holy-spirit/

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