Growing spiritual muscles: “Don’t judge me!”

Panzer Chapel

By Ch. (CPT) Hank Mauterer
BSC, 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborn

Have you ever heard the old saying, “That guy knows just enough to be dangerous!”

When we say that, we’re generally referring to someone who, after having gained only a cursory knowledge on some topic, then acts like an expert, critiquing, correcting and criticizing others. The odds are you probably have known someone like that; you and I have probably behaved like that, too.

At the core of the situation is a judgmental heart. For example, if you’ve ever been a regular at a gym, you probably knew someone new to weight training who was quick to look around the room and criticize others’ form, technique, and meal/supplement choices. Yet, some of those criticized were highly regarded and well-trained competitors. If you can admit to doing this to it, you’re on your way to becoming a spiritual Kung-Fu master!

You see, this paradigm also holds true to your spiritual faith. Those who seek to grow in their faith and become holy will inevitably progress through the following three stages of spiritual growth, as discussed in Romans 14: a) when we’re spiritually children, we can expect to find ourselves quickly judging others – especially those who’re more spiritually mature than us; b) when we’re spiritually adolescents, we can expect to find ourselves often regarding others with contempt – particularly those who are spiritually children; and c) when we’re finally spiritually adults, we can expect to find ourselves loving and encouraging others onward in their spiritual faith journey.  So, regarding these three stages, where do you most often find yourself?

“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged … Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”  Matthew 7:1-5

You see, it is through the arduous process of removing a ‘log’ from your own eye, such as cursing, taking God’s name in vain, adultery, etc., that you learn just how difficult it can be, how long it can take to overcome that sin and how the encouragement of others fueled your resolve.  After overcoming something like that, you find it very difficult to either judge or feel contempt towards others who have that same log in their eyes. Rather, you now possess the humility, love, experience, and wisdom needed to help and encourage them in their striving to remove that log from their own eyes, thereby fulfilling Jesus’ command to not judge your brother, but to love him to holiness.

And to this, I can attest in my own life how, after persevering through the difficult struggle to overcome cursing (marked by numerous successes and failures), I no longer had the desire to judge others who struggle in this area. Rather, as a loving father would, I now enjoy encouraging my brothers and sisters in their efforts to overcome sin.

May you find this word encouraging to your faith journey!

(In my next article, I’ll discuss why that’s the case)