Edhird's Blog

Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit

Saying No to Judgmentalism

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By Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Perhaps the best known and most misunderstood bible saying is ‘Judge not, lest you be judged’ from Matthew 7:1.  Most of us find it painful to be around people, including spouses, who are being very judgmental and negative.   Dr. John Gottman talks about the ‘four horsemen of the Apocalypse’ that can predict with 94% accuracy the likelihood of divorce: 1) criticism 2) contempt 3) defensiveness and 4) stonewalling.[1]  When Jesus famously tells us not to judge, he is not telling us to be undiscerning, but rather not to condemn and reject other people with whom we may disagree.  Yes, there is a place for constructive criticism with our spouses, family, coworkers and friends, but it needs to rooted in an environment of love, acceptance and encouragement.  This is why Dr John Gottman found that in healthy marriages and relationships, people make five positive comments for every negative comment.[2]

Billy Graham, who turned 98 this month, insightfully said this year that being judgmental and constantly criticizing others is wrong in the eyes of God.[3]  It is not one of the gifts of the Spirit, like the gift of encouragement.[4]  Dr. Graham, who has spoken in person to over 260 million people, observed that a judgmental attitude also blinds us to our own faults. (Have you ever noticed that judgmental people almost never criticize themselves?) Jesus said that such judgmentalism is like having a log in our eye while trying to doing eye surgery on someone else’s speck of sawdust.  Judgmental people are often very insecure, and are constantly seeking to build themselves up. One way they do this is by tearing other people down. But in reality, said Dr. Graham, they end up tearing themselves down also, because no one wants to be their friend.  Judgmental people are often the loneliest people on earth.

Jesus gave us a difficult task: to judge or discern nonjudgmentally: “Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right?” (Luke 12:54) At the heart of judgmentalism is prejudice, which means to pre-judge, to judge too quickly before you have taken time to examine the facts. It is not a sin to have moral convictions about right and wrong, but we need to take the time to carefully listen to other people’s viewpoints and never condemn other people when we disagree with them.  I will always remember my sister advising me about a difficult situation: “Be kind.”  We can all  learn to be more kind like Jesus, gentle like Jesus, humble like Jesus, and nonjudgmental like Jesus.  Even when Jesus challenged people to repent and turn from sin and selfishness, he was always loving, tolerant, and kind.

You can’t reach people for Christ to whom you are being judgmental.  Judgmentalism just drives them away.  With the Festival of Hope, perhaps we could prepare for it by pulling the log of judgmentalism out of our eyes.  Is there anyone in your life that you need to stop judging?

Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in Canada

-an article adapted for the Light Magazine and the Deep Cove Crier

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback andebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 

[1] Dr John Gottman,  Frequently Asked Questions, https://www.gottman.com/about/research/faq/ (accessed Oct 8th 2016)

[2] Ellie Lisitsa, “The Positive Perspective: Dr. Gottman’s Magic Ratio!”, December 5, 2012 https://www.gottman.com/blog/the-positive-perspective-dr-gottmans-magic-ratio/ (accessed Oct 8th 2016)

[3] Billy Graham, Answers, March 17th 2016, https://billygraham.org/answer/show-compassion-toward-those-who-are-critical-and-judgmental (accessed October 8th 2016)

[4] Billy Graham http://www.azquotes.com/quote/954248 (accessed October 8th 2016)

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Author: edhird

I am the Rector of St. Simon's Church North Vancouver, B.C., having served there since 1987. Ordained in 1980, I have also served at St. Philip's Vancouver and St. Matthew's Abbotsford. My wife Janice and I have three sons James, Mark, and Andrew. I was the Past President and Chaplain for Alpha Canada. While serving as the National Chair for Anglican Renewal Ministries of Canada, I was one of three co-signers of the Montreal Declaration of Anglican Essentials http://www3.telus.net/st_simons/arm05.htm For the past 26 years, I have been privileged to write over 400 articles as a columnist on spiritual issues for local North Vancouver newspapers. In the last number of years, I have had the opportunity to lead conferences and retreats in Honduras, Rwanda, Washington State, BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland, and Toronto. My new sequel Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit, with a foreword by Dr JI Packer, is online with Amazon.com in both paperback http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/097820221X/ref=redir_mdp_mobile and ebook form http://tiny.cc/tanhmx . In Canada, Amazon.ca has it available in paperback http://tiny.cc/dknhmx and ebook http://tiny.cc/wmhmmx . It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook). Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form. Nook gives a sample of the book to read online: http://tiny.cc/vj3bmx . Indigo also offers the Kobo ebook version: http://tiny.cc/kreonx . You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook: http://tiny.cc/1ukiox The book 'Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit' focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus' healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how North Americans can embrace a holistically healthy life. In order to obtain a copy of the prequel book 'Battle for the Soul of Canada', please send a $18.50 cheque to 'Ed Hird', #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD. For more info, please click on www3.telus.net/st_simons/nsnews030.html

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