Forgive one another, do not judge.
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32
Let us stop passing judgement on one another. Instead make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way. Romans 14:13
Why do we need to forgive each other?
1. God commands us to love one another.
A new commandment I give you: Love one another, as I have loved you, so you must love one another. John 13:34
2. It is impossible to love someone you have not forgiven, or hold some judgement against. This is not just something that may have been done against you, it can be any way in which we consider someone else as being less than ourselves, or less than we think they should be. The problem is that we will suffer the consequences.
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. Matthew 7:1-2
In concentrating on other peoples weaknesses or limitations we never deal with our own and we are unable to be of help.
3 Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:3-5
Moreover, we can be an active discouragement as Romans 14:13 tells us.
Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.
3. God alone is able to judge.
11 Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbour? James 4:11-12
So what form can judging take. How do we recognise it?
- Considering our experience, qualifications, etc to be worth more than others. This can include ‘spiritual’ experience, etc.
- Not liking someone because of their personality.
- Not allowing ourselves to forgive someone, regardless of if they have done wrong to us, or someone else.
I’m sure we can come up with many others, maybe some we do ourselves.
How do we quit judging so we can forgive?
1. Admit that we have sinned.
2. Repent before God, and ask for His forgiveness.
3. If necessary, take steps to get right with whomever you have held something against. However, if you have not made your feelings known to the person involved, do not confess that sin to them, they may have no idea of your hidden feelings.
4. Ask for God’s power to heal the root of your feelings, and to help you not to repeat the same mistake again.
Note: Forgiveness is an act of will, which you may need to repeat again and again until you have forgiven the person. The feelings we associate with forgiveness only come after.
© Paul Wood