I came to a new insight (for me anyway) on why Jesus warns us to judge not. For those who are not familiar with the Bible the relevant scripture is as follows:
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you too shall be forgiven” Luke 6:37
I used to interpret that scripture mainly as a warning that others (and most importantly, God) would evaluate and measure us according to the measure we use on them/others. And that may still be accurate…but I realized, Jesus may also be warning us that such a spirit of judgement and self-righteousness will turn back on the owner. Even for the non-believer, a judging and condemning spirit is a poison first and foremost for themselves. To judge, one must place themselves on a pedestal and no one is perfect all the time. Thus, self-condemnation, denial and defensiveness follows when one inevitably fails to measure up to their own demanding and unforgiving standards. We are creating our own prison with a judging heart, our own worst critic.
My personal experience has been that I am sometimes a very judgemental person towards others but I am ‘careful’ to hide that under a veneer of politeness and charm. However, I am coming to see that my judging ways are not really hidden as I have been brutal to myself and it affects others no matter how smooth I think I am. Being unkind and ungracious to others and myself in my thoughts (if not always in my words and actions) really freezes the process of growth and healing. As I think of it now, the times in my life where I have experienced the most growth and joy have been the times in my life where I have been the most humbled and willing and accepting of grace. …and when you see your need for grace and accept it, you have no problem sharing it with others as you know you are no different then they are.
Maybe this all seems very abstract? I thought I would illustrate with an example:
I look at an overweight woman passing by and think, “wow, she is so fat, look how sluggishly she moves, must not be working out, how could she sit there eating chips when she is already overweight” Later on that day, as I am sitting eating chips, of course I am going to be so vicious to myself to the point where I run and hide from that meanie in my mind…by eating more chips, totally out of control with disregard to my satiation . Because how I deal with bad feelings and anxiety and stress (feelings produced by said viciousness) is by eating. Yeah, not a good cycle. (and by the way if food is your drug/poison of choice, my bet is that harshly judging the fat lady will lead you to your addiction even if you are thin)
Meanwhile, if I my heart is full of love not judgement, I might still notice an overweight woman as such (since weight has been a life long issue for me, I always notice) but my thoughts would be either a reminder to myself not to pass judgement (I know zero about her and her life after all), or be compassionate and empathetic in nature as I struggle too (although this lady may not, who am I to say? again do not know her…lolz) And later on when I am eating chips… I’ll enjoy my chips.