Sunday, May 30, 2010

I'm Judgmental

You know what I hate about me? I hate that I'm judgmental. It strikes me as especially hypocritical considering my current state of affairs. The only reason my life has any hope right now is because of people who love me without cause. It's a sobering contrast when I consider my consistent inability to offer grace to others.

Those who used to work with me could attest to it. I remember how harsh I was with a girl who was emotionally traumatized when I asked her to leave her friends in one city and move to another. "It's not about you," I told her, "get over it and advance the Kingdom of God." I ought to punch myself in the face.

What I didn't realize is that healthy people have emotions to process. I never did that. I tried to find ways to numb pain. I thought to be a good soldier you had to always be strong. There was no time to feel loss or enjoy life. People were only worth the investment if their visible strengths were more prominent than their visible weaknesses. What a joke.

The thing that bugs me the most about it is how I was faking everyone out. I'd tell them to suck it up and deal, and most of them would try. I, on the other hand, would cope with pain by pretending it wasn't there. I feel like I tricked everyone into thinking that I was invincible and that if they tried hard they could be tough like me. The crazy part is that I believed it.

Maybe that's why I'm so judgmental. I actually thought you could be fine by just deciding to be. I concluded that people who didn't make that choice were more concerned with their own comfort than important spiritual matters. I'd notice patterns in people who were actually processing healthy emotions and I'd make judgment calls about their maturity.

Obviously it wasn't hard to transition to snap judgments about everyone. I still do it. Just the other day I met an insecure overweight woman who interrupted people and talked loud. I remember deciding that her efforts to help kids were merely a way for her to cope with the fact that she couldn't get married and have her own family. How ugly can my soul be? Someone shoot me!

My tragic flaw is seeing a pattern instead of a person. That poor woman has pain. And she's a real person. Probably with a much more beautiful heart than I'll ever have. And in spite of inevitable wounds inflicted by guys like me she has chosen to care for people - many of whom may never appreciate her deep goodness.

I suppose the silver lining is that the people that I berated managed to find healthy ways of processing emotions and still achieving greatness. I'm in awe of who they are and what they've done, all while being true to themselves and maintaining personal wholeness. I could never have done that.

I'm a loser for trying to lead them. They're the real heroes. They should have led me. I wish they could take me back to the beginning and teach me just one lesson about how to process pain and still love people. They've still offered me grace, even after enduring all my judgments. Damn me!


  1. I think it's a sign that you're losing your judgemental-ability when it starts to really bug you.
    What we've walked through these last couple years has taken away about 90% of my ability to judge other people. But, I'll tell you what - the 10% I have left disgusts me more than the 90% ever did.

  2. Matt, I feel very strongly to suggest a bible study for you. Beth Moore has a study called "when godly people do ungodly things" I have done it twice. I believe it has really been an eye opener. The church owns it and I am sure they would allow you to borrow it. It would be a great study for you and D to do together.

    I sat under a pastor for 7 years that was alot like your description of yourself, and I was very hurt in the process of his constant judgement...I am healed now, and working even more intently for the Lord. Some of what he said and did, God wanted to use for me to glean from--how not to treat others, and to assess how I was dealing with the youth I was in care of. There is no excuse for us acting judgementally (except we are human-saved by grace), but God will use even this for his glory; both in your life and in the lives you have encountered. Keep pointing to Him and asking for his grace and mercy. (Grace-receiving what we do not deserve, Mercy-not receiving what do deserve)

  3. Matt, I'm not sure I'm supposed to say "I am enjoying your blog" but to be honest, I am enjoying your blog! I love the honesty and the openness.

    You're a great writer.

  4. My tragic flaw is seeing a pattern instead of a person.

    That's good Matt ...

  5. Hey Matt- You do have a good heart. I've seen it!! I'm so thankful for His grace in our lives.

  6. Let's suppose your heavyset woman does not have a beautiful heart. Maybe her motives are totally selfish, and any service she performs is to impress others. It doesn’t matter as far as you are concerned. You are just responsible to withhold judgment (in the sense of condemnation) of her because Jesus has declared her to be precious to Him.

    Just as you, Matt, are precious to Him.

    Zephaniah 3:17
    The LORD your God is with you,
    he is mighty to save.
    He will take great delight in you,
    he will quiet you with his love,
    he will rejoice over you with singing."

  7. Hey Matt! It really means a lot to me to read this. It can't be easy to be so raw about your feelings, thoughts, and weaknesses. There are two things that touch me most - seeing examples of real love and compassion in humans and watching people's lives be transformed by God's love. :) It's so interesting that by making the statement "I'm judgemental" we are actually also judging ourselves. Don't forget - the true judge is your Father - and he doesn't judge you one bit but sees you as righteous! I need to learn this myself - to see others & myself through His eyes.

  8. In my own recent disgust with my constant judgments, I realized that the very thing I judge people for is a fear inside of myself. Like my constant judgment of obese people is based in my own fear(completely unfounded, but that is a whole different issue) of being overweight some day. And those crazy Christians who always seem to have it together? Well, I guess that would be because although I have been a Christian since a young age, I still can't seem to make sense of this thing called life. So I guess what I am suggesting is instead of condemning yourself for your judgments, use them to examine your heart, motives, fears, and attitudes. You may be surprised, I know I am

  9. From my perspective, this has nothing to do with religion, it's about personal development.

    Oddly enough I am obese, I run a kids club and haven't married, so appear to be one of your classic victims guys! Start talking to us, tell us a joke in the lift, we are funny, lovely people.

    I am also judgemental, hence reading this today.

    A long time ago I read a book and in it was the phrase along these lines "your judgementalism will define you" - I knew that I didn't understand what that meant, and that purely because I didn't understand it, that I should for my own sake go back and dwell much, much more on.

    So my message here is, rather like the author, what you don't understand or cannot relate to, is, what you might do well to investigate further, for yourself.

    Good luck everyone, we all have history, the search to improve and evolve is the release fro m unhappiness.