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.
“Perhaps most importantly, keep quiet for a while, you may find your words aren’t necessary.”
Such beautiful advice, and so many good points are made in this post. I’m so glad you and your friend were able to patch things up. It is hard, sometimes, to give advice without seeming judgmental, but if we are very careful, we can manage it. Thanks for reminding me.
Rachel Norman says
Yes, KT. It’s hard. It’s hard to step out there and give our opinions. Still, I’d rather have someone correct me even if it comes off a bit judgey because – even if I feel they’re wrong = I actually feel more certain of my own stance!
Richard Akindote. says
Correction is always judgement for those who still love their sins…I like correction more than been looked.2Tim.3:16 majorly says words of God is for correction.
Rachel Norman says
Oh I love this and it’s true. Anyone who feels upset you called them out calls it “Judgment”
Rob Hodges says
Thank you. I’m not a mum, in fact I’m not even a woman! But I was searching posts on the difference between condemning and judging. I was trying to reconcile the fact That Jesus came not to condemn but to save with what he said to the Pharisees in Matthew 23. Your thoughts have helped clear some of the obstructions.
Rachel Norman says
Rob, thanks for this feedback. I know it’s not perfect, but i Hope it helps us see that it’s not always “judging” or “condemning”
Same here! I’m a Christian but can hardly handle being around them! Sadly the majority of them don’t feel they are judgmental. And feel they can condemn because they are “better” than you. This is fact not perception. How do I gracefully call attention to it when it’s happening to me? I love your bit on correction to and the relationship you have with people depends on that. My brother cracks people all the time even strangers in a dries me crazy! Such a great & accurate article. Any more???
Vee James says
Thank you so much for sharing this. I am currently dealing with a situation which a friend brought to my attention that I speak with anger when discussing a certain topic. It is a sensitive issue & I know that she loves the person dearly at the root of it all & that is part of the reason she spoke up, but not the major reason. However, it is about me having the wrong attitude (probably some hidden anger). After reading this article, it is a reminder that I also don’t want our discussions to be about me ‘winning an argument.’ This article reminds me that a true friend (the picture you included of the bridge over water) is not going to let us walk into troubled waters, but they do love us enough to speak the truth to us in love. This is a person who has been in my life almost two years and she does just that. Thank you so much; I cannot think of enough words to tell you how much coming across this article has helped me during this time of season while I am going through emotions of uncertainty & uneasiness. I believe it was meant for me to see this article while dealing with matters of the heart. It will lay the ground for me to better ‘receive’ critiques; particularly those that are corrective in nature. Thanks for being a blessing.
Rachel Norman says
Oh I am SO SO SO SO HAPPY that you felt encouraged by this article. What a good friend you seem to be and what a good friend you have!
I’m heartbroken and felt bad for being accused of being judgemental and when I read your article, I think I couldn’t agree more with you that …
“Just because we perceive something as negative doesn’t mean others are being judgmental. 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”
I think when someone accuse somebody else of being jugdemental, that someone is being jugdemental herself/himself. So, as you said “We should be less quick to cry “judgement” and evaluate our hearts first.”
Rachel Norman says
I remember having a friend in high school who others said “she’s so judgmental and preachy” but I realized – in my heart – that she was just acting so uprightly and NEVER saying a bad word about ANYONE but those girls felt bad about what they were doing and therefore, said the other girl was judgey. IT’s easier to blame others than ourselves, right?
Yes! I experience this with my mom, even though she knows about God and says she believes but says I’m judgemental when there is a difference between a boundary and an ultimatum. Just because she does not get it does not make it right for her to say I’m judging in the wrong way. Jesus said he was a stumbling block and many did not receive Him. The truth is powerful it’s a two edged sword and pierced through bone and marrow and is able to Judge the intentions of our hearts. I told my mom the reason people feel condemned and guilty is because in Romans 8:1 it’s says that there is now no condemnation awaiting for those who belong to Christ jesus. So if you aren’t in Christ you are under condemnation. That’s why Pastor says we need the Holy Spirit in our lives to direct us :) great article! Thank you!
Hey Rachel! I just love your heart.
I love this post and all your illustrations.
God bless you.
Pauline Aube says
Thank you! Being accused of this now as well. It’s always someone’s excuse to justify themselves and they spin it and redirect the blame on to you. “Judge schmudge!”