Judgmental people can cause us a lot of pain if we don’t know how to respond properly. But we can find peace even when being wrongly judged.
“The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7 NIV)
It may look to people like you aren’t doing all that well. Maybe it even looks to others like you are living outside of God’s will for your life.
Don’t get me wrong. If you’re living in pride, bitterness, sexual sin, drunkenness, dishonesty, or anything else that clearly violates Scripture, you are outside of God’s will for you. You should listen to other Christians’ concerns about those kinds of issues.
But there are times when people can misjudge what’s going on with us. Let’s look at a quick example. Say that a man with a family has looked everywhere for work and cannot get hired. Say this continues for a long period of time. This situation was common after the great recession, and might be happening again under the economic effects of coronavirus shutdowns.
Still, people who have always easily gotten a job could easily misjudge the situation. They could prematurely conclude that this man is violating the instruction of 1 Timothy 5:8, which says that a man should provide for his relatives and family.
Only God knows what’s in this man’s heart.
Maybe being unable to provide for his family is one of the most painful things he’s ever experienced. Perhaps he looked and applied and asked for opportunity thousands of times, and became emotionally unable to handle any further rejection. Maybe he decided that accepting his situation was better than committing suicide.
After repeated failure in trying to obtain a job, maybe he tried to think, experiment, and creatively find other ways of providing, such as starting a small business or going back to college. Only God knows.
That’s just one example of how we can misjudge others. More common instances of misjudgment occur when people are going through divorce, bankruptcy, sickness, legal trouble, or even the loss of a loved one. We should all guard against prematurely, harshly, or wrongly judging others.
How to Respond When Wrongly Judged
We’re not supposed to be overly concerned with what others think of us. But the truth is, it hurts when people misjudge us. Go ahead and forgive those people. They need your forgiveness.
Besides, it is an easy mistake to make. When we haven’t gone through a situation ourselves, we often draw wrong conclusions. Job said, “The one who is at ease holds calamity in contempt and thinks it is prepared for those whose feet are slipping” (Job 12:5).
Job is describing a natural human tendency. It’s easy to think that when a person is experiencing difficulty, pain, and trouble, they must have done something to deserve it. It’s probably our default reaction most of the time. However, it’s a wrong reaction. Jesus corrected this kind of thinking in others.
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him” (John 9:3).
In spite of Jesus’ correction of this kind of thinking, many people still make this mistake of misjudging others. We get overconfident in our view of what’s happening with another person. We act as though we are a righteous judge, even though the Bible makes it clear that there is only one righteous judge.
Go ahead and forgive those who wrongly judge you. We all wrongly judge others at some point, but God has forgiven us.
Lastly, realize that when going through an intensely painful situation, we are hypersensitive to everything others say and do. Often, we will think people are judging us wrongly even when they’re not. Try your best to show grace and forgiveness when it feels like people are wrongly judging you. Even though you may still experience pain, your life will be more peaceful, and you can sleep at night with a clear conscience.
No matter what, it hurts to feel misunderstood in the midst of a painful situation. If you’re going through something right now that no one else seems to understand, know this.
God is not mad at you.
He is not looking down on you.
Your loving Father sees every tear you’ve cried.
He knows what is in your heart.
God wants you to know that He cares. He is crediting your faith to you as righteousness. He has not missed a thing. There is a great reward waiting for you.
God loves you dearly. He sees your fight. The Righteous Judge knows every attack you’ve endured. He sees your faithfulness. He’s with you in your struggle.
And one day, your prayers are going to rise up like a memorial before the Father.
He is going to rescue, deliver, and heal you. He is faithful. Keep holding on. There may be pain in the night, but joy comes in the morning.
Scriptures to Strengthen You
These Scriptures have helped me through tough times. May the Lord bless you through them in Jesus’ name, amen.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” – Galatians 6:9 (NIV)
“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” – 1 Peter 5:10 (ESV)
“The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” – Romans 16:20 (ESV)