This morning I read Matthew 7:1, the most quoted verse in the Bible: “Judge not, that you be not judged.”
It occurred to me to ask, why would anyone judge someone else? What is it that makes this instruction necessary? I can think of a few reasons:
- Because I’ve been faced with the similar choice and chose otherwise. When faced with the same information, I acted differently than you did. Our different response to the facts bothers me.
- Because my conscience requires something yours does not. I have judged myself as unable or unfree to enjoy your liberty, so my first reaction is that you shouldn’t be free either.
- Because I have the same problem, but it is secret. If you are “out there” I am going to be “out there” and I don’t want to be. Maybe you won’t be if I condemn you.
- Because I am afraid of what will happen if you are right. What if your choice, which is different than mine is right and mine is unsccessful?
- Because I will look better if you are shown to be wrong. At the heart of most judgment is pride. Whether it’s true or not, I ‘m inclined to believe I’ve taken the high ground.
Can you think of any other possible motives for judging someone else?