We live in a world that is eager to point out our mistakes. People are quick to judge and with the internet often those judgements are public knowledge. Also these judgements are usually made with little or no knowledge of the circumstances of the person being judged. Many folks today have been silenced by such judgements too afraid to speak up for fear of being ridiculed. But as Einstein said if we never fail, that usually means we never tried. The walk of faith is an unsteady one. We don’t do it perfectly from the first step on. We wobble, we stumble, we fall on our faces. What is God’s response – to laugh and make fun of us or to turn away in disgust over our inability?
The apostle Paul expressed it this way to the Philippian church: “Not that I have already obtained all this (spiritual maturity), or have already been made perfect but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14
Paul was saying he made mistakes too, but he didn’t let that stop him. He would get up and keep stepping (often falling again) towards the goal. When a child is learning to walk, what is the response of the parents? Do they laugh at the child or point out what a poor effort the child made towards walking? Of course not, they praise the child for the effort, they encourage the child to get up and try again, and love the child no matter what. As we look to others and feel the need to judge them remember the words of Jesus, “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.” Matthew 7:1,2
If you really want to change people for the good, judging and criticizing them isn’t the answer. Meeting them where they are, seeing the efforts they are making and then gently pointing them in the right direction will work much better.