Even when I’m not looking, I find it…on Instagram and in Facebook comments, in sideways glances and whispered remarks.
It’s hard sometimes—being a girl. We hold such high standards for ourselves and for others. We walk around life with a handful of yardsticks, measuring our clothes, bodies, colleges and relationships against lives nothing like ours. Then we wonder why we aren’t satisfied with who we are and where we’re going. We wonder why insecurity holds us captive; why we never feel good enough.
The Bible has two distinct approaches to judgment. As Christians, we are called to judge sin. As God’s lights in this world, we not only walk in obedience to God’s standards, but also defend God’s outline of right and wrong. In order for there to be any good in the world, there must be a standard to delineate good from evil. This means we must stand on God’s truth, even when that means confronting sin:
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. (Galatians 6:1)
My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. (James 5:19-20)
But there is another kind of judgment, and this kind God hates. James 2:1-4 describes a judgmental spirit: one that shows favoritism to the wealthy, beautiful and popular people while ignoring and humiliating those who don’t meet our standards. James writes of this attitude: “…have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?” (James 2:4) Since God shows no partiality (Romans 2:11), judging others on non-sin issues offends His heart of love.
It can be hard to fight the urge to compare and compete, so here are five reasons not to judge the other girl.
- No two lives look the same. Each of us has a unique calling from God. Every woman is gifted with a specific set of skills and talents to equip her for the life before her. We simply cannot expect the yardstick of our lives to appropriately measure the lives of other women! To do so is neither honest nor fair.
- You don’t know her story. You know the girl with the perfect blonde hair whose beach pics make you feel small and boring? Her parents may be in the middle of a divorce. You know the girl who struggles with her weight? Maybe she’s in counseling for an eating disorder. We simply do not know the full story behind most of the women we judge, and until we know their stories, it’s not our place to make assumptions.
- It is our differences that make us interesting. Many of our “judging” tendencies arise around points of difference. One girl loves to run; another prefers biking. One girl wants to get married; another wants a career. It’s easy to think that our personal life choices—which are the best for us—are the best in general! But it’s these very differences that make us all so interesting. They open doors to conversation and friendship based on diversity of thought.
- She could be the friend you wish you had. I struggled to maintain friendships with girls when I first attended college. I felt that my interests were…well, the most interesting! Because I approached other girls with this judgmental attitude, I alienated many opportunities for friendship. You don’t have to make the same mistake. Lasting friendships need freedom of individuality, which thrives in an environment of acceptance.
- Comparison and judgment keep us from fulfilling God’s call to love. God is the perfect balance of justice and love. We talked about justice when we discussed sin. But God’s loving nature desires to bring all people into fellowship (friendship!) with Him. That is why He sent Jesus! If God went to such great lengths to offer us a relationship of love and acceptance, we would be foolish to think we can deny others that same grace.
Defeating judgment will be difficult at times. By exposing ourselves to the love of God and the acceptance He gives us every day, we equip our hearts to enjoy the other girl for who she is—not who we think she should be.