Read: Galatians 5:22-23, Roman 8:5-6, Matthew 7:16

The question I am always asked about the words of judgment is, “How do I live my life free of judging others?” Judging others has become second nature to most of us. It is such a part of us it goes unnoticed and runs rampant throughout our day and lives.

First, we must stop thinking we can know the intentions of another person’s heart—why he says what he says or does what he does. Only God knows the heart. Try simply being an observer instead of looking at a person’s actions and thinking he or she is bad, insincere, or rude. A person may have done a bad or hurtful thing, but that doesn’t make him “bad.” Drawing these kind of conclusions about people is responding to them with a worldly point of view. It is judging. Despite the person’s actions, he is who God says he is, not what the world says.

Secondly, we should observe the fruit of someone’s life (Gal. 5:22–23). We must ask ourselves if the fruit of that person’s life and actions is love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Through the discernment of the Holy Spirit we can live free of judging others.

If we don’t judge others, then what are we supposed to do about making decisions? Every day we are faced with situations when we have to make decisions or draw conclusions. It is part of life. Do I want to develop a friendship with him? Should I let my children play with the neighbor’s children?

Here’s what I believe we should do. First, we must live in the Spirit. This means we choose daily to rely on the Holy Spirit to guide our thoughts, words, and actions. If we do this, the Holy Spirit will give us the discernment we need to make decisions (Rom. 8:5–6).

We gain freedom from judging others when we look to the Word of God and decide to understand others by the Spirit and by their fruit. We just look at their fruit (Matt. 7:16). The result of freeing ourselves from speaking damaging words of judgment is that we no longer receive the pressed-down, multiplied-back judgments of others, and we find new freedom to stop judging the person to whom our judgments are most damaging: ourselves.

We would like to thank Tim Cameron & Charisma House for providing this plan.