Above all else, guard your heart. For everything you do flows from it. – Proverbs 4:23
Everything comes down to the position and motivation of the heart. Everything.
Jesus taught this when he says, “…but the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean’. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man ‘unclean’.” (Matthew 15:18-19)
That which we speak comes from our hearts, and it is our hearts that determine how clean or unclean it is.
Say you notice something different about your friend. Where once he/she was thoughtful and giving, now they are more reserved. A loving heart would perceive this as concern for them and you will approach them in love and ask what is wrong. If you love them and care for them, you will listen to the answer and provide them with emotional support and care. If you love them and care for them, you’ll make sure you understand what they are going through and why they are acting differently than normal.
But if you do not love them, you will judge them without even knowing what is really going on. You won’t talk or even ask before casting a judgment. If you do ask, it’s with the agenda of casting judgment. Unloving hearts doll our judgment to friends and strangers alike without any form of understanding of what the truth may be. Unloving hearts get upset only that they “changed” and then become sullen and self-pitying because the friend isn’t serving you as they used to. Unloving hearts expect or demand love without ever offering it.
Unloving hearts also accuse others of being judgmental, simply because they feel convicted of being wrong. They feel convicted, refuse to address such conviction, and so accuse others of being “judgmental” simply for speaking honestly.
But here’s the funny thing. You can’t call someone judgmental without being yourself, judgmental. And since hardly anyone makes that accusation with a heart of love, that also makes the accuser not only judgmental themselves, but also prideful, haughty, and hypocritical. You accuse someone of what you believe is wrong (which may not actually be wrong, since you didn’t bother to look into the matter), and you end up incurring three more wrongs upon yourself. Funny how that works, huh.
Is it any wonder Jesus taught us not to point out the speck in someone’s eye before removing the plank in our own? He didn’t say “never point it out.” He just said to check ourselves and approach all matters with a pure heart. Because when, and only when, our hearts are right is it a beautiful thing to come to someone in love and concern about theirs. We are called to speak the truth, in love, and to sharpen one another as iron sharpens iron. We are even called to rebuke those who are stubborn in their sin and, if they are causing harm to others, we are to remove them from our inner circles so as to protect ourselves and those we love.
Unfortunately, most people in today’s world (just look at social media…holy cow) throw around accusations and judgements to people they don’t even know, never took the time to talk to, and have no actually love or concern for. People get a rush of god-like delusion from casting judgements on everything and then calling it “free speech.” People with planks so big they can’t even see straight, setting out with prideful and arrogant hearts, seeking only to expose the specks in everyone else’s eyes.
Christ calls us to be different. May we, as followers of Christ, be ever more wise and discerning in the purification of our own hearts, and leave the hearts of others to the real Judge, who knows and sees all.