One of my greatest “aha moments” this year is that judgments follow the laws of sowing and reaping. Our judgments of people might seem innocent and benign. We’re just “calling it like it is.” However, the caution against making judgments in Scripture (see below) holds a personal dimension: they will warp you!
Say you had a rough childhood because your mother wasn’t as nurturing as you needed her to be. You see some of the effects of her deficits in your life, but you try hard to compensate for the loss. You think you’ve contained the damage by swearing, “I’ll never be like her.” The problem is your very judgment of her. When you think of her, you make critical judgments that bind the very things you judge to your life.
It may be that, like Job (3:15), what you fear the most, eventually comes upon you. Fears can easily become self-fulfilling prophesies. But it could also be subtler than that. I have a mentor who likes to say, “Funny you should mention that” whenever someone shares a judgment or complaint about someone to him. He encourages them to use that reaction (judgment/complaint) for self-examination, “Why does their action trigger me in such a way?”
The only pathway to freedom is through forgiveness.
Here’s a prayer to resolve the reaping of judgment (taken from “His High Places”):
“Lord, I lay before you a sin of judgment against a precious child of yours. I affirm that you sent Jesus for ________________. Your word makes it clear that there are no benefits from pushing you off your throne and taking over your job of judging. I want to be completely free from having judged or continuing to judge those who have hurt me in the past or whose sins I have observed and judged. In the name of Jesus Christ please forgive me for judging ___________ for the sin of ____________. Thank you for forgiving me for this judging sin and for meeting me where I am. I lay this judgment at the foot of the cross and trust in the blood of Jesus to cover it. I forgive and bless ___________in your name. I ask you to show mercy on me and those I love so that we not reap the same sin in our lives. Thank you for showing me this sin and the way out of it. In Jesus’s name, Amen!
Here are a few of the scriptures on judgment:
Matthew 7:1-2: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
Galatians 6:7: Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.
Romans 2:1: You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.
Romans 12:19: Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
Additional scriptures: Romans 12:14; Colossians 2:13-14; Ephesians 6:2-3; Hebrews 12:15.