If you’ve ever had someone tell you that you were doing something wrong in an unloving way (you know, like raising kids, breastfeeding, not breastfeeding, or just generally living life), you know what it’s like to feel judged. Judgment is different from loving discipline or correction. Judgement is selfish. It’s miserable and poorly delivered. And it makes us feel defensive and/or angry, especially if we disagree with someone’s judgement of us.
But sometimes, it doesn’t take direct criticism to make people feel judged–and these subtle slights and daggers can be even more damaging to our relationships. In any case, judgement can kill the authenticity of a friendship. While there may be times to approach friends from a place of love, the Bible is clear that we are nowhere near fit to judge others. Most of the time, even if we mean well, we need to do some self-reflection before deciding that we know how someone else should live life (Matthew 7:5).
Here are a few ways you might be judgmental without actually realizing it:
People see who you are online.
If you tend to say things on social media that you’d hesitate to say in front of an auditorium of friends, family, and acquaintances, you might want to either take a closer look at those opinions and ideas or a closer look at who you’re saying them to. If you wouldn’t criticize someone to his or her face, don’t post a passive aggressive declaration of your opinion. If you wouldn’t openly make fun of a complete stranger you see at the store, don’t take a secret picture of him or her and post it for laughs.If your online self isn't someone you want to be in real life, reevaluate how you portray yourself.Click To Tweet
In today’s age, you’re always around others. Social media means that people know you (or the “you” you’re broadcasting on Facebook) better than you realize. No matter who you are in person, the online “you” communicates a great deal about how you view other people. If your online persona isn’t someone whose skin you want to walk around and interact with people in, you need to reevaluate which person you really want to be.
Offering unsolicited advice.
When someone tells you about the happenings in her life, she isn’t necessarily asking for your advice. If you don’t hear about someone’s life directly from her, she definitely wasn’t asking for your advice. When you offer your advice without being asked, you imply that you don’t think the other person can handle the issue alone, and that you know the best course of action for her. Some people are inclined to have a “fix it” personality, which does spring from a place of love. While you may (or may not) have good intentions, sometimes people just need a listening ear or someone to understand where they’re at. While there are some relationships close enough for you to know whether someone is seeking advice, it’s a good idea to ask before volunteering your opinion if you aren’t sure that it’s welcome.