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Silently Judging Others Silently Makes Your Heart Stinky Like Rotting Fish

The way we think and act toward others is an act of judging others. It’s also an extension of our own hearts. Here’s how to get our hearts in good condition. Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

Judging others is a character trait I’m always working to overcome. I have more success at different times, and I frequently fall into old patterns. However, as I have matured and grown in my faith, I’m realizing my judging others is really me mentally tearing them down. As I have examined this nature, I find it generally has to two causes. I judge others either because they have what I do not or because they have what I want not.

You see, our practice of mentally judging others is really our own faults and no fault of theirs whatsoever.

When Your Territory Gets Turned Upside Down

Labor Day is a really exciting time for my community of Auburn, Indiana. Back in the early 1900’s, it was one of the pioneering communities of automobile production. However, production ceased around the Great Depression. Many years later, a club formed to celebrate that heritage. A car auction including some of those cars produced in Auburn was held as a fundraiser. The success propelled it into a festival that included the largest collector car auction in the world.

This festival continues annually, featuring dozens of events in addition to the auction.  Tens of thousands of people from all over the world come to Auburn, Indiana; a community that has just over 13,000 residents, annually to participate in the festivities.

Sounds great, right? Well, that depends upon how you view it!

Our Mental Response to Viewing Others

Having grown up and lived in Auburn my entire life, I have observed three general viewpoints when it comes to the events of the festival. First, there are those that celebrate the time of year and enthusiastically look forward to it. They embrace everything about it may even be involved in planning it.

The second group of people just put up with it. They see it as a bit of an inconvenience, but know it is an important time for the community. The third group of people is the haters. The think and speak negatively about everything involved with it.

Mentally Tearing Down Others By Judging Others

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. – Ephesians 4:29

I have personally sided with all three of the groups I mentioned above at different times in my life, as I suspect many have, too. To help characterize the general mindset of each group, here’s how each might respond if you asked them about Labor Day in Auburn:

  • The Embraces: “It’s an awesome time that brings together people from all over the world to celebrate and enjoy our rich community heritage.”
  • The Go With Its: “Yeah, it’s cool. It’s a bit inconvenient, but it’s great for the local economy and it’s just one weekend.”
  • The Haters: “It’s crazy. A bunch of rich jerks come to my town, act like they own the place, tear it up and leave.”

Each of these responses is a state of mind. I think anyone would quickly agree with that. However, it goes deeper. Each one of these statements is also a statement of the heart. As most are familiar with, Jesus called upon us to love our neighbor; and who is our neighbor?

Perhaps the better question here is, who am I?

The way we think and act toward others is an act of judging others. It’s also an extension of our own hearts. Here’s how to get our hearts in good condition. Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

The way we think and act toward others is an act of judging others. It’s also an extension of our own hearts. Here’s how to get our hearts in good condition. (Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash)

Is Your Heart Stinky Like Rotting Fish?

In the passage from Ephesians, the usage of the word “corrupt” implies something more. I’ve read one commentary that calls it rotting fruit and I’ve read another that calls it rotting fish. Either way, it’s pretty gross.

Is the condition of your heart pretty gross?

Explore your heart to find the answer the question of “who am I?” Pay attention to what you do or say. Pay attention also – maybe even more so – to what you think.

Are you a hater – or anyone other than a person who loves thy neighbor?

Is it because you long for what others have? Consider what the Bible says about coveting (Exodus 20:17).

Is it because you see in that neighbor what you wish to not have in your own life? Thank God for that reminder and pray for yourself and for that neighbor (Matthew 5:44).

Remember that we are all flawed people.

Give grace as you would also hope for similar grace.

About Chad Gramling

Chad Gramling makes his home in Indiana with his wife and three daughters. He’s the founder and primary blogger at 1Glories, a vision cast onto his heart and detailed in Listen Up Kids: Foolish Dreams, Syncing with God & Running to Win.