If you're like me, you often feel like the people you meet relish picking you apart in their mind - maybe like a gourmet crab, cracking your shell and taking out your insides, contemplating them before they chew them up with a satisfied smile. You sense them deciding whether you have good or bad character, if they like your hair, if what you said was really intelligent or the stupidest thing they've ever heard. Later you imagine them talking about you, recounting their entire time with you as if critiquing your debut movie.
And it doesn't bother you so much when you hit it off with that person, even if you had to act against your nature a little bit (they wouldn't know the difference, right?). If you feel like they will be raving about you later, you don't really care what they think of you. It's those people who you know aren't your biggest fans that get to you. Even if they disgust you, you still feel this pressing need to make them think highly of you because they are doing the J-word, and you just can't handle that.
We all do it, even if we don't pronounce it over people like monarchs giving sentence. But the thing is... get ready for this... try as we might to judge, we fail miserably. Every. Time. We try to decide the status or fate of people, whether we mean to or not, but we simply do not hold the power to make such decisions.
Humans can't truly pass judgment because they aren't God. The first time I realized that, it blew my mind! No matter what someone says about me behind my back, no matter what they think of me or what disdain they have for me, it's not real judgment. It's just an opinion, and it holds such dinky weight in comparison to the opinion of God, my Creator and the lover of my very soul. God's opinion is judgment, and though he hasn't declared his full judgment yet, the day will come.
More than luckily for people who believe that God's son has come to whisk us away from this epoch of darkness by dying on our behalf (maybe soon I'll dedicate an entry to why this makes perfect sense and why I believe it...) - more than luckily for us, if we have made Jesus director over our lives, and we call on his name for help and strength, we are pre-judged as having good standing with God. Perfect standing, in fact. Our mistakes and acts of rebellion are banished and not taken into account.
All that to say we can shut our ears to the un-constructive criticism of those who have "judged" us. And we can and must shut our mouths and swallow when we feel the need to spit out an un-constructive "judgment."