We have written two previous articles (Judge not, but what about unity and When to swap love for a strong rebuke)about judging others. From scripture, we know that you can judge righteously or unrighteously. In this article, we want to focus on the effect of unrighteous judgment on ourselves. We want to show you how we put ourselves in prison when we judge others in a sinful way. We will not go into what righteous judgment is, but being the complete opposite, you will know the difference after reading this.
A typical example of unrighteous judgment is when you find out somebody has lied to you and it has hurt you, you judge him/her to be a liar. This judgment will not affect this person, but it will affect you and your relationship with this person in future.
Before we explain to you how it works, we will first define unrighteous judgment.
The seven characteristics of unrighteous judgment
Unrighteous judgment carries with it certain characteristics. The first one is condemnation.
To condemn is to declare guilty, in need of punishment. It is deciding that the person is not just wrong, broken or in need of correction, but bad, even worthless. 2
37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned.
Let’s define condemnation:
56.31 κατακρίνω; κατάκρισις, εως f; κατάκριμα, τος n; καταδικάζω; καταδίκη, ης f: to judge someone as definitely guilty and thus subject to punishment—‘to condemn, to render a verdict of guilt, condemnation.’
κατακρίνω: οἱ δὲ πάντες κατέκριναν αὐτὸν ἔνοχον εἶναι θανάτου ‘they all decided he was guilty and worthy of death’ Mk 14:64; ἵνα μὴ σὺν τῷ κόσμῳ κατακριθῶμεν ‘so that we shall not be condemned together with the world’ 1 Cor 11:32.3
When we condemn, we take YHVH’s seat as judge and decide someone is guilty and in need of punishment. It is basically the same as telling YHVH what He should do. ” I have found this person guilty and now I expect YHVH to punish him/her” I am waiting, I want to see”
The second characteristic of unrighteous judgment is self-righteousness.
Luke 18:9 defines this self-righteousness well:
9 And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt:
Self-righteousness is pride.
6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “Elohim is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
We also judge unrighteously when we judge according to appearance. This is the third characteristic.
According to appearance
24 “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”
13 He who gives an answer before he hears, It is folly and shame to him.
It is easy for us to judge a person on appearance only, not knowing their whole story or what drove them.
The fourth characteristic is with hypocrisy.
We are to examine ourselves before we judge, for often we do the very same things.
3 “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?
1 Therefore, you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.
We will explain this in a bit more detail later. In the sixth place, we have merciless judgment.
If we judge without mercy, no mercy will be shown to us. Every person has a story, the story of what made them who they are. Knowing the story give us compassion for the person and compassion helps us to extend mercy.
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
2 “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.
The seventh characteristic of unrighteous judgment is a judgment based on lies.
Based on lies
How often don’t we hear something said about another person and judge them based on that?
5 A false witness will not go unpunished, And he who tells lies will not escape.
2 to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men.
Unrighteous judgment is like putting a label on somebody. This label will in future prevent us from seeing who this person really is. All we will see is this big label and we will judge all they do in accordance with this. This does not only affect our relationship with them, but it also affects us too.
How unrighteous judgment affects us
I want to first share with you what I have experienced in my life. We will then compare my experience with what we can learn from scripture.
I grew up with much rejection and I was taught to forget or ignore the hurt others caused for “I am really a better person than them.” They are bad or worthless for doing what they did and I should show them that I am better. This didn’t take away the hurt or shame but motivated me to prove to them that I am indeed better. This had been my life for a very long time, proving to others I am better than they. I said this had been because YHVH has shown me the error in this and has shown me how to correct this.
This is the wrong way to deal with rejection or hurt, but being broken themselves, my parents taught me to deal with it in this way. I guess it made me feel better at the time, but it prevented me from dealing with the hurt of rejection and shame. It made a root of bitterness grow inside me, causing me to make more judgments and inner vows to protect myself. Some of these were made against me. One by one another chain of captivity was put on me. I was imprisoned by my own unrighteous judgment. Y’shua could free me, but I didn’t want to let go and didn’t know how to.
This is the fruit of bitter-root judgments.
Bitter Root judgments usually originate in our families of origin and are often expressed in close relationships later in life. Children judge their parents and/or siblings for wounds suffered during the course of life together, Sometimes, as in cases of child sexual abuse, for example, the injuries are great and judgment seems justified. While we are permitted to judge behavior, we are not permitted to bitterly judge the heart or motivation of another person. When we do, we plant a seed of bitter judgment in our own life which operates like a curse pronounced over ourselves. Thus, we are not only injured by the original offense, but also by our response to it. With the passage of time the unconfessed sin develops into a root system in our hearts. As we continue to judge bitterly, we strengthen that root system and it becomes more powerful and persistent in its quiet growth, Of course, we don’t see the roots in this stage of development – they’re well hidden – but later, we see the poison of our fruit that springs forth from the mature plant that has been nourished by the bitter roots of judgment. We wonder how on earth the unwanted fruit grew in our lives. We may blame someone else and continue in ignorance, reaping a harvest of bitterness in relationships that are very important to us. 4
The above quote explains what happens. This root of bitterness grows and matures and brings forth fruit.
15 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.
Every time we make a judgment or an inner vow to “protect” ourselves, we invite “enforcers” to help us keep our judgments and vows. These enforcers are demons. They constantly reinforce our judgments, bitterness and unforgiveness. When we make unrighteous judgments and inner vows, we also pronounce a curse over ourselves. These judgements and inner vows we make, also ensure that we hold on to unforgiveness. It seems from my own experience that you cannot let go of unforgivenss unless you have broken the judgements and inner vows associated with it. So, if you have unforgiveness in your life, ask YHVH to reveal the judgments and inner vows associated with it. Breaking these will make it possible to forgive.
There is a right way to handle this pain. Instead of judging, I can stand in the pain of powerlessness, helplessness and injustice and ask the Father to help me deal with the situation for healing. This is how YHVH wants us to deal with hurt. 2
We read in Hebrews:
14 Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see YHVH. 15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of Elohim; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;
This bitterness that defiles, comes when instead of pursuing peace with those who hurt us, we judge them unrighteously. Our judgment and bitterness does not affect them, it affects us. This root of bitterness causes trouble in our lives and defiles us and our relationships. To pursue peace and have grace when we are hurt, is not an easy thing to do. When we are hurt, we want to retaliate. We want to hurt or see them hurt.
YHVH wants us to pursue peace and have grace for others. This doesn’t mean that we can’t be angry immediately after we have been wronged, it means we are not to harbor anger in ourselves. Harbored anger, bitterness and unforgiveness are blockages to healing.
We can ask YHVH to give us compassion for the person that hurt us. That way, it becomes easier to pursue peace and have grace for them. Broken people often hurt others. Knowing this, should already give us some compassion for those who have hurt us and make it possible to have grace. The grace spoken of here is the grace of Elohim, while we were sinners, He died for our sins. This grace is unmerited favor.
The reason unrighteous judgment has these consequences in our lives, is because there are spiritual laws at work here.
All these judgments we make against others will cause us to be judged in the same way.
We will be judged the way we judge
1 “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. 2 “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.
When we carefully read this verse, we notice that if we judge a certain way, we will be judged in that same way. When we judge others, we actually become like them and will be judged the same way. Do you want to be judged the way you judge?
We will reap what we sow
There is also the law of sowing and reaping. This spiritual law confirms the first.
7 Do not be deceived, Elohim is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
This is self-explanitory. What we sow, we will reap. If we sow harsh unrighteous judgment, that is what we will reap.
We practice what we judge in others
1 Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.
It is not for nothing that Y’shua explained about the speck of dust and the log in the eye.
3 “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? 5 “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
Other people are often mirrors to us. That which irritates you most in another person, you often do or are yourself. If you see arrogance in everybody, there is a great possibility that you are arrogant, but blind to your own faults. We can use other people as a mirror to show us the error in your own ways.
YHVH is the judge, He knows the heart of every person and can therefore judge righteously. We can judge the deeds of others, but never the person.
11 Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor?
Judgment blocks forgiveness
Judgment and bitterness are barriers to forgiveness. It is as if judgment, and the bitterness that follows as a result of it, act as gatekeepers to forgiveness. It locks this gate and no matter how hard you try to forgive, the next time you see the person you thought you have forgiven, the old resentment rises up.
I have experienced how after breaking a judgment against a person, it was possible for me to forgive. I have had a deep resentment and bitterness against a family member for years after she had hurt me and no matter how hard I tried to forgive, it didn’t seem to work. I would time and time again decide to release and forgive this person, begging YHVH to help me to forgive her, but the next time I encountered her, the resentment and bitterness was there again. Then I learned about judgments and YHVH started showing me the judgments I have made. I have made a judgment against this person. I broke the judgment, send the enforcers away and broke the curse over me and I was able to forgive. The bitterness and resentment I felt against this person is gone. YHVH has filled me with compassion for her. I had a dream about her and I saw how much pain she has in her. She may hurt me again in the same way, but now I will deal with it differently, YHVH’s way. The relationship has not been restored, but the groundwork is laid for it to be possible.
Forgiveness is the first step in the restoration of a relationship. A common misunderstanding is that forgiveness is the same thing as reconciliation and the restoration of trust, and therefore if I forgive a person who has hurt me, I must automatically trust and return to relationship with this person.The one who offended me may be totally unrepentant- he may be just as prone to the same hurtful behavior as he used to be.But I must give up my self-righteous condemnation of his character, admitting that YHVH alone can judge him justly in order for forgiveness to be complete.5
I, the victim, am to be willing to forgive, to release the offender. This will free me from bitterness. Forgiveness plus confession and repentance on the part of the offender are the foundation upon which reconciliation is built, and trust grows over time as changed behavior continues and restoration can take place.
We may feel it is not safe to forgive for various reasons. We may feel that if we release this person, they will not get what they deserve. Or we may think that they will hurt us again, so why bother. We need to free ourselves from these lies, for it will prevent our freedom. These lies will keep us captive. We are to pray that YHVH gives us supernatural grace and forgiveness for the person who harmed us. We cannot manufacture forgiveness, we need YHVH’s help to change our hearts and minds. Forgiveness is a gift of YHVH, but we can clear out everything that stands in the way of forgiveness.
Our judgments harm our relationships
Judgments we hold against others harm our relationship with them. We may have made a judgment against somebody that he is stupid, selfish, self-centered, lazy or whatever. This judgment is made as a result of this person hurting us in some way. We may feel a victim in a situation and make a judgment as a result of it. We would not verbalize these judgments out loud and we know we shouldn’t have these feelings towards the other person, so we use cognitive techniques and denial to put these judgments away. This, however, only put them away until the next time. Whenever there is a trigger, these judgments will surface again. The demonic enforcers remind us of the previous time this happened, confirming the judgment.
Although we stuff these judgments away, they are perceived by the other person. Even if we never verbalize them, they can be sensed from our facial expressions, body language, voice tones and overall attitude. This will trigger angry, defensive reactions in the other person.
I have come to realize how often I have made judgments, even against my husband. We sometimes feel a victim due to our perception of a situation and instead of dealing with it, we make a judgment. A husband may feel that it is his wife’s responsibility to do the washing, for example. If he is placed in a situation where he has to do the washing, he may, due to this perception, make judgments against his wife, maybe that she is unorganized, or lazy or whatever. Although he is helping, his wife will perceive this attitude, body language, or tone of voice in him. After this incident, every time he is asked to do “woman’s work,” the enforcers will remind him of the judgment and it will be re-inforced. This will trigger anger or defense in the wife and it will lead to conflict.
There is no place for judgments in relationships, we are to serve each other with joy and humility. Ask YHVH to show you the judgments you have made against your spouse, children or others. Y’shua can permanently remove these judgments if we bring it into the light and ask for His help. We will later go into more detail regarding how to.
We may still have disagreements with others, but without judgments, it will be easier to work together to come to productive resolutions.
Judgments against people we are in relationship with will harm those relationships. We can train our minds not to judge. Instead of thinking “wow, that person is a hypocrite” we can think: “that statement he made was hypocritical.” In this way, his action was judged, not him as a person. It may even be beneficial to tell him that in a loving way.
YHVH knows the whole story
Only YHVH has the information and the wisdom to judge the basic moral character of a person. Only YHVH knows each person’s intentions and hurts. Only YHVH could deal with them justly. Sometimes He may show us the pain in another person in order for us to have compassion.
When I released the judgments I held against a family member, I had a dream that night and YHVH showed me the pain in her eyes and He revealed to me how she judged me as a result of her hurt and was acting in the way she did due to her own hurt and judgment against me.
YHVH, knowing the whole story, should be a source of compassion for us towards the perpetrator. It is His job to weigh all the pieces and make a judgment. We need to relinquish this role.
Judgment is a flawed defense mechanism
The thing about judgment is that we use it as a defense mechanism. We often employ judgment when we feel powerless or helpless in a situation. Others are harming me, I can’t do anything about it and there won’t be justice, so then I judge.
When other’s selfishness, greed, deceit or hatred is coming against me, I can either stand and face the pain of helplessness, powerlessness and injustice and turn to YHVH to help me deal with the situation or I can judge the person “ You deserve punishment, and some day you will get it. I may not be able to personally do something about it, but at least I am better than you”
Dr Karl Lehman the author of “Judgments and Bitterness as clutter that hinders prayer for emotional healing“describes the defense mechanism of judgment well:
The judgment makes us feel less helpless, powerless and vulnerable. I feel like I am doing something about the situation. I feel like I am punishing them in some way by judging them, and that this will somehow make them change. I feel I have some power by feeling I am better than they are. I am waiting for an opportunity to contribute my judgment to the process of justice.5
This thinking is flawed. If we think about it logically, we know we can’t do anything to the person who harmed us, instead it has a damaging effect on us. It holds us captive.
Judgments protect and anchor bitterness
Bitterness is a symptom of judgments we have made and cannot dissipate on its own. We cannot pray to YHVH to remove the bitterness we have and not break the judgment associated with it. It would be like praying “YHVH, I am bitter because my friend has hurt me and there is nothing I can do about it. She is selfish, dishonest and deserves to be punished and I am better than her, but please take this bitterness away” this prayer is not effective for we hold on to the judgment that caused the bitterness.
We are to first deal with the judgments we have made.
Judgments allow an open door for satan
Most importantly, when we make unrighteous judgments against others or even ourselves, we open the door for satan in our lives. Unrighteous judgment is sin and for this reason allow satan and his demons to work in our lives. They are enforcers of the judgments and inner vows we have made. Say we have made a judgment that a person named Sam is dishonest, we will in future look at Sam with this perception and will expect Sam to be dishonest, so we won’t believe a word he tells us. We will constantly look for dishonesty in him. It might have been a once off incident, but because of the hurt or harm it caused us, we have judged him to be dishonest. The enforcers will help us believe that it is indeed so en will constantly bombard us with thoughts and theories to confirm this judgment. In psychological terms, this is referred to as delusions of persecution or paranoia. I never realized that it can be caused by judgments.
They have found low levels of dopamine in people with delusions of persecution or paranoia. The question is, What causes this hormonal imbalance? Could it be a physiological reaction to judgments? Interesting…
The point is unrighteous judgment against others harm us. It is also like pronouncing a curse over ourselves for we will be judged the way we judge. This means we become like the one we judged and will then be judged the same way. Be careful of making an inner vow like “I will never be like my mother” in doing this you have judged your mother, your relationship with her is harmed, and you will become like her and be judged by others as you have judged her.
For this reason, I believe it necessary to learn how to break these judgments we have made in order to set ourselves free. There are four basic steps to freeing yourself from judgments.
1. The first step is to identify the judgements you have made and the person/persons against whom you have made it. It will be beneficial for you, as you remember the circumstance, to connect with the emotions you felt at the time.
2. The next step is to repent of the judgment. YHVH is the judge of people, not us. To judge unrighteously is sin and we are therefor to repent.
3. We then break the judgement against the person and pray for blessing for them instead. In some circumstances, you may feel the blessing part may be pushing it a bit too far. However, it is imperative that you break the judgement in Y’shua’s name.
4. Next, you send all the demonic enforcers away in Y’shua’s name.
5. The last step is to break the curse you brought over yourself in pronouncing the judgment. You do this in Y’shua’s name also. We can only do this in Y’shua’s name. He gave us the authority to do so.
You can go to http://www.kclehman.com/download.php?doc=92 for a complete document detailing what we have written about here. In this document, you will also find a prayer to break these judgments. I found it very useful.
We might think we are punishing others when we make a judgment against them. The truth is, they don’t even know about it and we harm ourselves. Our judgments against people who hurt us can and will harm, even destroy, future relationships. There is a reason it is repeated so often that we are not to judge unrighteously.
Please consider this information, it may change your life. Breaking unrighteous judgments you have made against others, from your heart, in Y’shua’s name, will make them lose their power over you. It will also cause satan to lose his power over you. I can testify to the effectiveness of doing this. It is another way of getting free from captivity. May YHVH bless you in your journey of getting free from captivity.
1. All quoted passages are from the New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995. We have substituted YHVH for LORD and Y’shua for Jesus
2. Buys, Amanda, Journey2Wholeness, part 4 Dealing with forgiveness
3. Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 555). New York: United Bible Societies.
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