DON’T JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER
We all have heard the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” When we create stereotypes over an individual or group, it turns into false judgment. A stereotype is “to believe unfairly that all people or things with a particular characteristic are the same” (Merriam-Webster.com).
When we judge people by their appearance, personality, or hobbies, we make assumptions rather than get to know them for who they really are. An assumption is “a fact or statement taken for granted” (Merriam-Webster.com).
Can you remember a time when you were judged harshly by others, because they did not agree with the choices you have made for yourself? How did that make you feel? I have experienced judgment over the decisions I have made in my life. It is very hurtful to be rejected by the people you thought cared about you and loved you. The harsh words and mockery can affect your confidence in the next big decision in your life.
Have you passed judgment on others? We are all guilty of hurting people with our false accusations and harsh words. God made us all unique, and we need to accept everyone for who they are and what they do. We may not always agree with people’s lifestyles and the choices they make, but we need to love them as Jesus loves us.
In Matthew 7:1-5, it says, “do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. ‘Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, Let me take the speck out of your eye, when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.’”
In the Scripture above, Jesus says to examine our lives to see what is not of God. We all have to make decisions based on what is best for us. Some of the choices we make are good and follow after God. Other choices are of this world, and we learn from our mistakes. It is part of being imperfect and living in a sinful world. Before we judge others, we need to realize that we are not perfect, and there is always room for growth to become a better person.
In Romans 14, the Scripture warns us about judging others. It says in verses 10 through 14, “you, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written: ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before Me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’ So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.” The words brother and sister in this passage refers to a believer, someone part of God’s family.
We are to treat people with respect and encourage them in their endeavors. We need to empower people with our words instead of tearing them down.