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If you’ve ever wanted to know the difference between correction and judgment, you’ve come to the right place. Or perhaps a better question, “Is she really judging me?” Post contains affiliate links.
“Don’t judge me! Who are you to judge?“
These words were spoken to me by a friend many years ago. They shocked me because I hadn’t said one word during her story. She’d done something she knew would bring her heartache (and it eventually did). I didn’t have to say a word, but because she knew I would’ve told her to protect her heart.
Even though I said nothing, she felt judged. I didn’t know how to handle it the conversation and a rift came between our friendship.
Just because we perceive something as negative doesn’t mean others are being judgmental. We live in a society where some are afraid to tell the truth because people cry “judge” so quickly and others are all too ready to give their opinions. It’s all gotten out of hand with some being too sensitive and others too entitled to speak their mind.
Shaming seeks to control by diminishing
When you seek to make someone feel disgraced, humiliated, or regretful, you are shaming them. Brene Brown, in her book on shaming, defines it as “the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and, therefore, unworthy of acceptance and belonging.” It takes correction to a new level. Instead of saying, “In our home (or friendship or community) we don’t treat others this way,” it says, “I can’t believe you would do something like that, you are not a good person.”
Shaming tells a person their identity, not their actions, is bad.
Correcting comes with relationship
We as parents have the responsibility to lovingly correct our children. Therefore, correcting a behavior or training our child isn’t a judgment, it’s our job. It’s our job because of our relationship with them. This is the basic point…whether someone is judging or correcting you comes down to your relationship with them.
If we are a mentor, leader or dear friend to someone we can probably offer advice or correction without the assumption we’re “judging them.” Being biblically corrected is a gift and if you don’t feel a spiritual leader or friend has the right to offer you any words of correction, ask yourself why.
Next time you feel judged, ask yourself, “Why do I feel bad right now? Because she was rude or because she was right?”
What is your heart attitude?
If you have a child or friend who is veering into dangerous territory and you care for them, offering wisdom is a kindness. When a friend is considering an affair, engaging in dangerous behavior, or starting to hang with a bad crowd, it is honoring to that person to speak up.
Your heart attitude will determine whether they shut down or not. A loving and caring heart says, “The road you’re taking is dangerous, I love you, get off that path.” A judgmental and condemning heart says, “You aren’t very bright and soon I’m going to say ‘I told you so.'”
Is it a public or private discussion?
When, where and how we talk about sensitive things is important. If you use a public forum to point out the error in your sister’s way she’ll go on the defensive. However, if you chose a private moment and share your concerns, she might receive your advice. If you gossip about her in public or at prayer group she’ll feel judged and shamed.
If you are not talking to your friend when you speak your opinion, it’s likely judgment. How can a person be corrected if they can’t even hear what you’re saying?
Are you projecting?
In high school, I had a friend so devoted to the Lord she made people uncomfortable. Though a fun person, she didn’t participate in a lot of our shenanigans and spent much time in spiritual pursuits. People would say, “She is judging me” over and over again, but that was just not true because she never said a word.
Faced with her behavior, they were judging themselves and falling short. Just because someone else makes you feel guilty or convicted doesn’t mean they’re judging you. We should be less quick to cry “judgment and condemnation” and evaluate our hearts first.
But really, we are called to judge
Ladies, we are called to judge. We are called to judge how our children’s behavior lines up with house rules. We are called to judge whether investments or purchases are wise. We are called to judge whether those we’re in relationship with are trustworthy. Every day we are must use the noggin and common sense the good Lord gave us to make good decisions.
We are called to judge whether a pastor preaches the Word of God or the Word of their Opinion. We’re called to judge whether a boss is a man of integrity or not. Unless we become robots on a production line, we cannot turn off the part of our brain that judges. What we can – and should – do is learn to keep our mouths shut unless our opinions will edify others.
Think of your relationship like a bridge
If the relationship between a friend is new, you have a flimsy foot bridge. If the relationship with a friend is 30+ years solid, you’ve got a Golden Gate Bridge. The strength and permanency of the bridge will determine what kind of load can go over it. You don’t drive a car over a flimsy foot bridge. On the other hand, a suspension bridge can handle a major life crisis.
Eventually, my friend and I apologized and made up. I was sorry she felt I was against her, when I was and am for her. She apologized for her part and we became stronger and closer. Because we cared about each other, not “winning” an argument.
Be wise with what you say, but don’t hold back truth in love.
Consider the feelings of the other person, but thicken your own skin as well.
Perhaps most importantly, keep quiet for a while, you may find your words aren’t necessary.