Continued from here.
So, now that I know that I need to stop judging other people, how do I do it? The first step is to repent. I need to recognize that judging other people is sinful and ask God’s forgiveness.
Step two is to ask God to change my heart because I know myself – without God’s intervention, I’m going to keep sinning in this area. In my flesh, I am unable to live righteously. All that has changed within me has come from God. I ask Him to intervene and then take that first step of obedience, trusting that He will equip me to do what I cannot otherwise do myself.
The third step is to replace the sinful behavior with righteous behavior. The best way I have found to do this is to pray for the person every time I am tempted to judge him or her. So, whenever I have a negative thought about another person, I immediately ask forgiveness and then pray for that person. If I have 20 negative thoughts in a day, that turns into 20 prayers for that person instead. I have learned through experience that praying for someone softens my heart toward him or her, even if it is someone I have actively hated for decades.
When I find myself struggling with having to repent of judging someone repeatedly, I remind myself that I am equally as guilty. I think about the times that I have had similar feelings in my heart, regardless of whether they turned into external actions, and thank God for forgiving me for those evil thoughts. I remind myself that I am in no position to judge anyone else.
I also ask God to let me see the person through His eyes. Every person I am tempted to judge is someone who God loves, so I ask for God to reveal to me the parts that are lovable. I have found that I can behave lovingly, regardless of my own personal feelings, by inviting God’s love for that person into my heart to flow through me and out to the other person.
The Bible says I will be judged in the same way that I judge others, so I want to “judge others” through the lens of grace. God is the judge, not me. My role is to love and extend the same grace that God has extended to me.
[Graphic: Cartoon of kneeling by her bed in prayer under the words, “Praying for You.” Courtesy Bitmoji.]