Women Judging Women
Lysa TerKeurst

"God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble..." 1 Peter 5:5 (NIV)

How differently might our lives be if we women didn't have to fear the harsh criticisms of other women? Might we be willing to step out a little bolder for Jesus? Might we be willing to be a little more vulnerable? Might we live our lives a little less guarded?

Oh sweet sisters, women judging other women must absolutely break God's heart. The crazy thing is when we judge others, we elevate ourselves past the ability to recognize our own propensity to sin in the very area we are criticizing. Show me a woman who is leveling a judgment against another person, and I will show you a woman who is wrapped in sin herself.

If it's not the very same sin she's criticizing, it will be a sin just as dangerous - pride.

It is a subtle shift that Satan invites us into. Voicing criticisms against others will coat the eyes of our soul with smut so thick, we become blinded to our own sin. Pride and self-righteousness will detour us from God's best path and lead us on a treacherous journey of denial. We'll deny our own sinfulness. We'll deny our own need for grace.

Those who can't see their own desperate need for grace, refuse to freely give grace to others.

Now, if you're like me, you may be tempted to start making a mental list of those who you have felt judged by and you started praying a few sentences back: "Please let so and so read today's devotion. Oh I hope she sees herself in this and gets a whammy of conviction."

But, let's stop making that mental list and receive this message personally. Even if we aren't naturally critical people, this is an area we can all grow in.

I recently read a wonderful quote outlining a beautiful plan when we feel tempted to judge someone else. Francis Frangipane in his book Holiness, Truth, and the Presence of God says, "Anyone can pass judgment - but can they lay down their lives in love, intercession and faith for the one judged? Can they target an area of need and rather than criticizing, fast and pray, asking God to supply the very virtue they feel lacking? And then persevere in that love - motivated prayer until that fallen area blooms in godliness? Such is the life Christ commands we follow!" (pg.11)

I know just posting this devotion will not suddenly make the world tip on it's axis and shake all of us women into breaking the cycle of criticisms and judgment. However, maybe, it will be a start. If it causes even one of us to fall in front of Jesus in repentance and allow Him to wipe the smut of pride and self-righteousness from our spiritual eyes- it will be a great start. Now, let me be that one.

Dear Lord, may I first fall in repentance into Your loving arms of grace. Thank You for the harsh ways I have been judged lately for it opened my eyes to this stinging way we women can be. Forgive me for not extending grace at times to others. I am a woman who desperately needs it - so, I should be a woman who freely offers it. When I am tempted to be critical of someone else, help me hold my thoughts and my tongue. Instead of voicing those things, help me bring them to You in honest and heartfelt prayers for that person. May I be one who is so motivated by love, that I will persevere in my prayers for that person until I see You working in glorious ways. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Visit Lysa’s blog where she posts daily.

Lysa is one of the featured keynote speakers at what is billed as the “largest Christian conference ever held in this country” - CBE in Dallas, Texas. Click here for more information. Lysa would love to connect with you there. If you are interested in the special Proverbs 31 Ministries get-together at CBE, request more information by e-mailing Holly@Proverbs31.org.

30 Days to Taming Your Tongue: What You Say (and Don't Say) Will Improve Your Relationships, plus companion Workbook by Debbie Smith Pegues

Application Steps:
The next time I feel critical of someone else, I want an action plan so that I can respond biblically. Don't you? Why not write out today's scripture verses on an index card and carry them in your purse. Below the Scriptures write, "Instead of criticizing, I will commit this person to prayer. I will stand in the gap for them with love and persevere in my prayers. I commit to keep my mouth closed but my heart wide open."

Reflections:
How did it feel the last time I was judged by someone?

Why not resurrect that stinging feeling each time we are tempted to be harshly critical of someone else? That way the hurt we felt can be put to good use if it prevents us from falling into the trap of judging others.

Power Verses:
1Peter 5: 5-6, "…All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. 'Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.'" (NIV)

Luke 6:37, "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven." (NIV)

© 2009 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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9 Comments:

Anonymous Desiree said...

I have had a different struggle but similar. I was never the prettiest or thinnest girl in school but if you ask anyone, I always walk with my head held high, confidence flowing out of me. And for that I get grief from women, whispering that they think I'm stuck up etc… I just wish some women weren’t so jealous, than in turn criticize you to bring you down a peg. Finally when these women would get to know me, they realize I’m not snooty in the least. It’s just sad that we judge by exterior so much…
Ladies, you may just be missing out on a relationship of a lifetime b/c you thought they were stuck up or they dressed funny.

Anonymous LaRae Weaver said...

That is so true Desiree!! I was that way in school as well. I was teased and didn't have many friends, I didn't walk with my head high however. I would talk to people just not very often. It wasn't till my junior year in high school when I got friends. Now in my own life I feel that I have been doing this lately, Lord forgive me!! There is this young lady that I am getting to know and I already said something that wasn't right, and now that I think bout it there is another lady as well, oh man ouch. Anyway, I want God's love to operate in my life. I can see the goodness in these ladies, I have just been blinded. Thank you Lord for this devotion today, and help me to always remember that I shouldn't be so quick to judge.

Anonymous Jody said...

It's so true how we look at someone and automatically judge them - sometimes not even intentionally! "They look like a hippie - they must be really weird and out there... she looks like she's a daddy's girl and gets everything she wants - she's probably totally stuck up..." and the judging goes on. It's funny how Desiree said one can miss out on relationships due to assuming things about people and I totally did that. It wasn't until I was made to stand next to this bearded hippie guy in choir at college that I realized, "Why did I just assume this stuff about him?? God forgive me!" He was one of the nicest and funniest guys.

On another note, God convicted me as a leader on a youth retreat of all places about the judging that goes on in my heart. Someone says they watched so-and-so movie and I think "I can't believe they call their self a Christian and they watch that!" or they made a choice with their finances that was a choice I wouldn't have made and I judge them on that.

God really rocked my world about it and opened my eyes to why it was hard for me to create some friendships - People think they have to be perfect for me to love them. How totally opposite of Christ is THAT?!? My judgment is not going to change their heart - it's going to push them away. GOD will change their heart. Lysa, I love how you said to replace the judging with praying for the person. So powerful!

We sometimes think we are living the Christian life if we are not sinning. I can't judge my Christianity on other people's sins. God will not love me more if I'm perfect.

What enables people to believe and change is showing GRACE to them!

Thanks for your post, Lysa.

Blessings,
Jody

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reading the comments--it seems as if more stereotypes. After reading the devotions I am always reminded to judge myself and never to think I am better than another. I have to always look at the plank in my eye before trying to help someone else. Thanks for sharing, because we all need to be reminded that we are to walk in LOVE. Love corrects with the love of GOD. Only God judges and He will one day judge us all.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was a time in my life in the not-too-distant past when I was very judgmental toward others, especially women. I criticized their lifestyle, their possessions, their child-raising techniques,etc., mostly though voicing my criticisms only to myself. Now that I have my own problems involving things that I previously thought ill about others, I feel the pressure of the judgement of others breathing down my back. Talk about a lesson learned!! Over the years, gossip has become increasingly distasteful to me, and now I find that judging others is following. This has been/is a hard lesson that God is having me learn, but sometimes learning the hard way is the best (and sometimes, the only) way to learn.
One way I try to battle this temptation is when I find myself starting that whole judgement thing, turn it around and take a good look at myself - Is the thing I am judging in someone else something that needs improvement in myself? The answer is usually yes. This exercise helps in 2 ways: first, it gets my thinking off of the other person, who I can't change anyhow, and second, it helps me to help myself (someone who I can change!).
So the take-away from this is - whatever is bugging you about someone else, is maybe what's just plain bugging you!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sarah used and abused (Hagar) her slave.


I completely understand where the feminists are coming from with their frustrations on godly women judging them.

They despised each other.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it because of the godly women that females can both today?

or

Did God allow the ungodly women to fight for the rights to vote?

Pardon my ignorance.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Lysa, I wish I could see your face and talk to you directly this afternoon. My heart is so full of gratitude for your post. I have been on both sides of the fence. Once you've been deeply hurt by other women, it seems SO easy to fight back and think of yourself more highly than I ought to. I lived that way for many years. God finally got a hold of my heart and showed me the hurt I had caused others. I don't think I have ever cried so hard. I asked God the other day for help again in this area. He showed me to whip out His Word, when the thought to judge comes: DO NOT JUDGE OR IN THE SAME WAY YOU WILL BE JUDGED. So far it is working well!! I also LOVE what Pastor Frangipane said in his book. If we all would pray for those we struggle with, how united the body of Christ would be and how defeated the enemy would be!! THANK YOU for the courage and obedience to share such a strong devotional today.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If it's not the very same sin she's criticizing, it will be a sin just as dangerous - pride.
----------------------------------


Pride and foolishness for "Women Judging Women"

I have met a lot of Sarah and Hagar in the church more than Queen Esther and Ruth. The proverbs 31 Woman is rare and who can find her?

Sarah is in the wall of faith because God showed her His wisdom/faithfulness despite of a foolish/faithless Sarai.

Genesis 16:2 So Sarai said to Abram, "The LORD has kept me from having children. Why don't you sleep with my slave? Maybe I can build a family through her." Abram agreed with Sarai.

Genesis 16:13 She called the name of Yahweh who spoke to her, "You are a God who sees," for she said, "Have I even stayed alive after seeing him?"

Sarah was faithless and Hagar saw the God who watched her.

"DO NOT JUDGE OR IN THE SAME WAY YOU WILL BE JUDGED"

Women also oppressed and despised each other like Hagar and Sarah.

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