A hardcore biker, a teenager wearing pants about 3 sizes too big and no belt, or someone wearing torn up and stained clothes. If all 3 of these people walked into your church would you approach them and if so, which one would you approach first and would there would be a difference in the way you greeted them?
These all could be the nicest people you ever meet or the warmness or coolness of your greeting could be the difference between this person continuing to come to church or turning their back on God.
How would you react to a child going from calm and mellow to hysterical over something as simply a change in music or for no apparent reason at all or setting there playing with the songbook, watching a fly, or just blatantly seeming to ignore the service in any other way.
This child could be misbehaving, then again they could be autistic. There are many levels of Autism and some of the higher functioning individuals look and act like everyone else most of the time. I know because I have a child with Apserger's Syndrome, high functioning Autism. His senses are heightened incredibly, that fluorescent bulb that you hear buzzing when it is about to go out, imagine hearing that buzzing from every light bulb that is in your immediate area no matter if they are old or new. Imagine having every sound amplified in your head and hearing them all. Imagine noticing everything from the imperfection in a songbook to a bug flying around and not being to draw your focus off that one thing. That is Autism and while most people with classic have clear indicators you cannot tell with others. So next time you are in church or in the supermarket and see that kid seeming to throw a fit and the parent that seems to not be able to get them to quit, stop and think that it could a parent coping with an Autistic child and instead of passing judgement stop and pick up the items the kid threw where the parent can focus on the child.
We all tend to judge people based on first appearance, no matter if there is any real interaction or not. We do not know if that is all the clothes this person has, if they have grown up in a certain lifestyle that is now part of their personality, if this is there first time learning of God, or if they have a special need.
Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment. - John 7:24
I like this verse because it says use right judgement. The Bible tells us we should not judge so, to me, right judgement is not really judgement but acceptance of the person as they are.
Judgement is a major challenge that Christians face. Many non-believers, and some fellow Christians, see what is wrong in our lives and say "What gives you the right to tell me what I am doing wrong, when you so clearly have issues yourself?" To combat this we must be willing to admit we have flaws and that a Christian is just a sinner that has been forgiven and will be forgiven again. No one is perfect and living a Christian life is a struggle of mistakes, prayers, and talks with God. If we let them know we are not perfect and still face our own daily struggles and overcome them through God, then they will be more accepting of the words we tell them. It should not be taken as us saying " I am a Christian and you're not so I am going to tell you what is wrong with your life". Our approach should be that God loves us all, we have all fallen short of His glory but by going to the Son we can receive forgiveness, peace, blessings, and an eternity in Heaven.
If there are any things in our life that we have an inherent judgement on, such as race, gender, appearance, sexual preference, etc., we should put them aside. I know this is much easier said than done. I struggle with judgement every day and only through God am I able to move past it.
Until we as the Christian body can fully adopt this practice we are going to struggle with this issue and even then I know there will still be some to ask the question, but if we are living according to God's will and accepting all as they are God will give us the words to reach them.
Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye. - Matthew 7:1-5
Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; Luke 6:37
Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor? James 4:11-12
I will close with John 12:47:
If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.
Our job as Christians is summed up well by the words of Christ in this verse. If Christ was not here to judge we have no right to be doing it. We should be focusing on saving the world and winning souls for Christ using knowledge and love. Judgement is not a tool to win people to Christ.