Judged. A way no one really wants to feel, right? Or make another feel, right? Yet it seems so often it happens. We judge ourselves, we judge others, it’s pretty easy to fall into judgement. I was the queen of judgement until recently and feel like the Lord has been working on my heart in this area. I’d like to share my journey with judgement with you today.

I didn’t realize I was judgemental until going through my health coach certification. During my training, we are taught to view things with curiosity, rather than judgement. To not view things as “good” or “bad,” but rather ask “why.”

I think for me, growing up, my bend was toward curiosity, I was the queen of “why.” My guess is my parents got tired of me asking all the time {fellow parents can relate, yeah?} and maybe squelched my curiosity the way I find myself doing so to our son when he is especially curious. While it isn’t meant to be that way, sometimes, we get busy, are in a hurry and don’t have time to answer “why” all the time. Ya with me? So going through my training reminded me of this part of myself that was once there. {After all, my dream at one point was to be a news reporter….you have to be curious to want that career, right?}

Going through this training made me keenly aware of how much I labeled as “good,” or “bad.” Experiences. Foods. Feelings. The way someone did something. If I agreed with it or not. I remember even being in the sorority and doing the same with certain Greek houses…some were “good,” some were “bad.” Looking back now, I see they were neither good or bad, they were all unique and different in their own ways.

A few weeks ago,we had some guest speakers at our church who were part of the “Your Story Matters,” series that our church has been in for the last year. The guest speakers this particular day happened to be a rabbi and a muslim. {I’m sure some of you are in shock that a Christian church would allow these people of other faiths in, right? How unholy, you might be thinking.} I remember walking in and seeing more security than normal that day and feeling the anxiety creep in. After all, there was going to be a Muslim at church that day. That could be dangerous, I thought.

As we went through worship, I was able to focus on the Lord and the anxiety dissipated, yet came up again when our pastor came onto the platform with the other two men. The rabbi did not make me nervous, as I know and have friends who are Jewish and that is known/familiar/safe to me. However the Muslim did. The anxiety was building as they were speaking and I had an uneasy feeling in my stomach as they began to dialogue.

However, as these men bravely shared their stories, their experiences, their beliefs in front of a large, predominantly white evangelical church, my anxiety settled. The Lord showed me they were just like me. They were people. With stories. With lives. With different religious backgrounds. That is ok. The Muslim man said something that was really impactful for me that day. It was something like ~ “just because someone doesn’t share your belief doesn’t change your own belief.” You can still have your belief and love someone with a different belief. You don’t have to change your belief{s} for them.

It made me aware of how many times I have tried to get others to believe what I believe, rather than loving and accepting them where they are. And, letting them be different. It is ok to be different and love someone who doesn’t agree with us/see things the way I do. For so long, I lived in fear of those who were different or saw things differently than I did. Now, the Lord is showing me how to love, accept and live with those who are different than me. And, it’s ok to be different.

For me, judgement was a way to keep me “safe” from the unknown. If I didn’t know it/about it/of it, I was often afraid and in fear. Judgement kept me in that place, because I was judging vs. being curious. I think as humans we tend to fear what we do not know. And, that is how we are wired ~ for fight or flight after all. For me personally, being curious around what I do not know has been helpful, as most of the things I have feared would have kept me from moving forward and doing what the Lord has called me to do. Fear is no place to live and it is certainly NOT freedom. Neither is judgement, I am realizing.

If you’d like to see the sermon I referenced, you can find it here. Can you imagine what a world filled with curiosity, love and acceptance would look like? Notice I didn’t say agreement, as we can disagree, while also accepting. You can have both in the same space. And I can’t help but think that is what the Lord wants us to do. Live in the “both and”, verses the “either or.” We can love and be different. We can accept and be different. Isn’t that the Gospel? {From my research on the whole Bible, not just the parts or verses that fit this topic ~ that’s what I found. If you’d like Scripture references, please let me know.} Would love to hear your thoughts on this topic, friends.

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