Sometimes I get judgey. Okay a lot of the time I get judgey. When I watch people with yucky colds snot, sneeze, and clear phlegm from their throats with no sign of soap and water or hand sanitizer, I judge them. When a parent let’s their child throw a temper tantrum, sweetly calling their child’s name while the child’s yelling is ruining my ear drums, I judge them. When someone I know is in a relationship with someone who has bad character and says “but we have so much fun together” as an explanation for why they stay in the relationship, I judge them.
I’m pretty good at judging and it always seems like a good idea, until someone judges me. Then it doesn’t seem fair for anyone to misunderstand, shame, or make assumptions about me. Judging someone else is the kind of one-way street that always arrives at a dead end. Judging doesn’t help us to understand other people and it can be a sneaky and negative way for us to attempt to feel better about ourselves by verbally or with our thoughts throwing someone else’s face into the mud.
Many of us are familiar with school zones that require us to drive a certain amount of miles per hour, or road work zones that make us slow down and change lanes. No judgment zones work in the same way. When we take the time to suspend our judgment we slow down our criticism. We shift our perspective from condescending to understanding.
Life is hard. Some of us are doing the best we can, getting out of bed in the morning, taking breaths, and making it through another day. Working, parenting, loving and being loved, are all things in life that take hard work. It is also takes work just to be yourself when it can seem easier to hide behind a façade or try to be a copy of someone else.
When we create a No Judgment Zone in our lives we experience a glimpse of what God does for us. We give each other grace. We allow for each other’s wounds, mistakes, quirks, and imperfections. We remember the days that we are tired, sick, spent. The days we are short with each other and our anger gets the best of us. The days we made all the wrong choices when we had all the best intentions.
Human beings are terrible at judging but God is great at it, because only God can see the intentions of a human being’s heart. Only God knows when we try to keep our behavior buttoned up but our hearts are running wild in the worst way.
So the next time you are tempted to be judgey, remember how it felt the last time someone judged you. Think of how you felt on your worst day and give other people the same grace you needed. Think of the love and grace that God gives you even when you don’t deserve it. Love and grace are the best tools to create your own No Judgment Zone.