“…stop passing judgment on one another.” Romans 14:13
“Stop judging me!” Judging, along with criticism, can be one of the greatest killers to marital unity. While criticism looks at words, actions and results–people who judge are condemning the person who does those things. A critic may say,” That’s a terrible idea!” But a judger would say, “Whoever came up with that idea is an idiot!”
Among the first Christians there was a lot of judging that went on in their church fellowships.
- Judgments were passed on whether somebody was fulfilling the Jewish law.
- Judgments were passed on how one conducted themselves regarding what they ate or drank.
- Judgments were passed on who was worthy of being treated with honor based on their wealth and who was not.
In response to this, the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Rome, “…stop passing judgment on one another” (Romans 14:13). In the original language, the word “judgment” means to “try, condemn, or punish.” While this was written to the congregation in general, it certainly applies to marriages as well.
Paul writes that passing judgment must stop. The word “stop” does not mean “slow down” or “take place on occasion.” It means to cease, desist, and stop. There is to be no more passing judgment in your marriage. Period!
Here are three assumptions made by those who choose to judge others:
1. They assume superiority
There is no humility in judging. The attitude is: “I am able to make a call on this. I’m in charge. You messed up. In fact, you are a mess-up (Or worse)!”
2. They assume being right
There is no question in the mind of the person who is judging they could be wrong. In fact, they’re adamantly convinced that they are correct in their assessment of the other person.
3. They assume knowledge
There’s no desire to gain more information or further insight into what took place. From their perspective as a judger, they know all that they need to know and their mind is made up.
These three assumptions are toxic in a marital relationship. Here are the three antidotes that a person who struggles with judging needs to grow in:
It is important to recognize that not only is our spouse our partner, they are our equal. The Apostle Paul wrote, “…in humility consider others better than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3b). When we can reframe our thinking toward this perspective, there is no longer any room for judging or condemning our spouse.
Humility will naturally lead to a heart that seeks insight. Instead of firing off judgment, ask questions to get at the core of what took place without casting aspersions at our spouse. “Help me understand…” are three powerful words that can defuse a conflict and open healthy dialogue.
Grace recognizes that we are to treat our spouse the same way Jesus treats us. We are to give love, gentleness, respect, and forgiveness. There’s a familiar phrase that, “the ground is level at of the foot of the cross.” That couldn’t be more true for us as marriage partners.
HUG: Humility, Understanding, and Grace. Apply these three things to your relationship and judgment will fade away as you build your marriage!