By Vivian Bricker, Crosswalk.com
Being judgmental is never seen as a good thing. Unfortunately, many Christians can be found to be judgmental. In fact, many unbelievers associate the word “judgmental” with being a Christian. This connection didn’t spring out of nowhere, as many Christians are often judgmental of others, both inside and outside the church. If you are struggling with being judgmental, you need to turn to God, repent, and ask for His help to change. He will help you and equip you with everything you need to stop being judgmental.
Not sure if you are judgmental? Here are five subtle signs:
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1. You Are Judgmental of Yourself
One subtle sign you are judgmental is if you are judgmental of yourself. If you’re judgmental of yourself, you are more prone to be judgmental of others. If you find yourself constantly being critical of yourself, it will rub off in the way you treat others. Since you are always hard on yourself, you are most likely judgmental toward others with the same degree of harsh expectations. Instead of being judgmental of yourself, accept yourself as you are without passing judgment. If you are having self-criticism or self-hate, bring that before God and ask Him to help you see yourself and others the way He sees His beloved creation.
Being judgmental of yourself is not a good thing because it will only cause anxiety and stress to weigh heavy upon you. Extend grace, mercy, and forgiveness to yourself. The more you show yourself grace, mercy, and forgiveness, the more it will extend in your interactions with others. Treat yourself as a friend and don’t be too hard on yourself. You will be able to become less judgmental by showing more grace to yourself. Many people think judging yourself will help you, but it won’t. Only God can judge us, and we need to leave all judgment to Him (Luke 6:37).
2. You Have Unrealistic Standards
A second subtle sign you are judgmental is if you have unrealistic standards. Unrealistic standards help no one, including yourself. If you hold others to unrealistic standards, you are being judgmental. When my sisters and I were teens, we went to a local church with the intention of building community. My sisters and I didn’t know Christ at the time, but it could’ve been a wonderful time to hear the gospel, yet that never happened. Sadly, the church members were judgmental of us and for lack of a better term, snobbish, towards us. Since we didn’t meet their unrealistic standards, they asked us to leave after less than a month of attending the church.
Things like this do happen, and they cause damage and hurt to everyone involved. If you are holding unrealistic standards over people, you are being judgmental, and you need to stop. Nobody can meet your standards when they are impossible. No one is perfect except for God; therefore, it is important that we don’t hold unrealistic standards above the heads of others. They will not be able to meet these standards, and it could hurt them immensely because of your judgmental attitude. As Christians, we need to treat all people kindly and love them as God loves them.
3. You Are Losing Friends
A third subtle sign you are judgmental is if you’re losing friends. Let’s face it, most of us don’t want to be around people who are judgmental. Maybe you had to leave a toxic job because it was messing with your mental health or maybe you just got into a relationship and your “friend” is only being judgmental about it. None of us want to be around someone who invalidates our pain, hurts our feelings, and judges us. Friends are supposed to be there for you in the good and bad and should support you and celebrate with you. If you have found that you have been losing friends, it could be because you are judgmental.
Most of us have known at least one judgmental friend at some time, and it is extremely difficult to be around them. Friends are supposed to make you feel good and cared about; however, this judgmental friend only made you hurt and question your worth. This is not a true friend, and as someone who has had numerous fake friends, I can’t encourage you more to distance yourself from that person. More likely than not, they are going to stay the same and continue to judge you. Don’t expose yourself to this type of friendship. Choose to, instead, surround yourself with those who care about you, love you, and support you.
If you have found yourself to be judgmental, notice how it affects your relationship with others. Can you tell how you hurt that person? Or have you been able to tell how that person has distanced themselves from you? These are all things to consider because you need to understand how being judgmental toward others can really hurt them. Choose to change your ways and ask God to help you with this goal. God doesn’t want you to be judgmental, and He can help you grow more into the image of His Son, Jesus.
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4. You Hurt Other People's Feelings
A fourth subtle sign you are judgmental is if you hurt other people’s feelings. Being judgmental can be seen in many ways, such as looking at people in a negative way, laughing at others for the way they are dressed, or looking down on someone because of their zip code. All of these things hurt people, and if you are constantly hurting people’s feelings, you could be judgmental. If you are a believer, there is no reason for you to be judgmental of anyone. If anything, you should know better than to put someone down to elevate yourself. True believers who follow Jesus faithfully should never have the desire to purposely hurt others.
When you hurt someone’s feelings, it will leave a lasting impact. You may hurt that person so severely that it could cause them to self-isolate or feel even worse about themselves. Hurting other people’s feelings and judging them is not right. God is not happy with these actions, and He will discipline you for these actions. It is never okay to hurt other people, nor is it okay to judge others. If you are aware of how you have been hurting others, turn to God, repent, and be intentional about never participating in judgment again.
5. People Don’t Feel Comfortable Sharing Important Things with You
A fifth subtle sign you are judgmental is if people don’t feel comfortable sharing important things with you. For most of us, once a person is judgmental of us, we don’t really want to talk to them anymore, much less share important things with them. In order for people to want to share important things with you, they have to see you are trustworthy to share these things with. Individuals are not going to share important information with those who are judgmental, invalidate their pain, and are not happy for them when positive things happen in their lives. If you feel people are only keeping you at the surface level, it could be because you are judgmental.
People stop sharing important things with judgmental people because all the judgmental person is going to do is make them feel bad and judge them. Why would anybody want to share important information with someone like that? We are only going to share important information with people who genuinely care about us and who are supportive. If you are judgmental, you can be guaranteed that individuals will not feel comfortable sharing important things with you.
If you want to change and stop being judgmental, turn to God. Ask Him for His help, and He will be there. It will take time and a lot of work on your behalf, but it is possible. Each time you feel tempted to be judgmental, ask God to help you fight this feeling. In the same way, if you mess up and are judgmental, ask God for forgiveness and try again next time. If you are wanting to change and have recognized the subtle signs that you have been judgmental, then you are more likely to be able to work on this sin and start living better for God.