16 So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! 17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
2 Corinthians 5:16-17 NLT
Sometimes we can wrestle with feeling condemned and judged by others. This may be from actual words, actions or perceptions. In any case, our feelings are real and valid. We begin to question why this bothers us at all, since we have been forgiven and redeemed by God. If we aren’t careful, we can start to feel resentful toward those whom we feel or know to be judging us. In some cases, we find ourselves responding to judgmental conversations we think others are having with us. This is a great robber of peace. When we face this type of situation we need to do something – and quickly, before the resentment grows more poisonous. We need to replace fiction with fact.
When this happens to me, I have to recognize that I am allowing the enemy’s labels to stick on me again. I am also thinking things about myself, that I believe others think of me, that may not be true. If I truly believe that I am forgiven through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, then I can accept my place as a new creation in Him. If God forgets my sin, why should I allow the remembrance (mine or that of others) of my sins to make me abandon His forgiveness? That is undervaluing the grace of a loving God.
God is our only judge (Isaiah 33:22). Holding on to this truth, we can choose to stay in the peace God’s grace brings. Psalm 59:10 says “God will let me look at those who come against me and know that I will win the fight.” God does not want us to live in a place of defeat. Today, we can choose to let go of resentments, choose to forgive those who judge us for our past and choose to believe the truth that we are a new creation in Christ. We can also seek to be curious about the perceptions we think others have of us. When we see ourselves - and our brothers or sisters who have received Jesus Christ - in the light of this truth, we can stop making “human” evaluations. Instead, we can see ourselves (and others) the way God does, as redeemed and forgiven children of the Most High God, the King of kings and Lord of lords.
Do you think that you are perceived negatively? Or do you feel judged by others? Here are some simple steps to bring clarity to this.
- Find a safe space to share these feelings. This can be a trusted friend, small group, pastor, or professional counsellor.
- With the support of others, consider asking others for feedback on how you are perceived/received. Lean on the counsel of others to determine which relationships/situations are valuable enough for this type of feedback.
- Accept that you weren’t designed to be liked by all people. Accept that some perceptions may be out of your control to change and that changing them may not be necessary for you to thrive.
- Practice acts of daily self-compassion, self-acceptance, self-love and gratitude. Create affirmations that you recite to yourself daily. Establish self-care routines in which your actions are expressing how much you love yourself.
- Ask God for the wisdom and strength to change those things that you think are necessary and that are within your control.
Lord Jesus, in Matthew 7:1 you instructed us not to judge others. I confess that it is sometimes difficult for me to not judge others, especially when I myself feel condemned and maligned. Father, continue to pour out your grace in my life so that whenever the enemy tries to pull me down to a place of defeat and labelling, I can rest in the assurance that I am fully forgiven by You. I am a new creation in You. Help me to honor you daily by choosing to live in this truth with myself and others who are my brothers and sisters, in Jesus’ name, Amen.