The Bible says a lot about judging others. For example, Christians should not judge people’s motives, they should not judge non-believers, but they should judge other believers’ external actions if that Christian is living in sin. (For more on what the Bible says about judging others, read this article.)
However, what about being on the other side of the judgement? What should Christians do when they feel judged by others?
The Bible Says Not to Judge People’s Motives, Including When You Feel Others Are Judging Your Motives
As Christians, we are told to not judge people’s motives. The Bible says that only God can see the heart, therefore judging the motives of the heart is not man’s responsibility. So when you feel like someone is doing this to you, it makes complete sense to feel offended, defensive, or wronged.
However, the first thing we as Christians must always take responsibility for is ourselves. In this case of feeling judged by another, we must first examine if we are actually the ones judging the motives of another. If someone tells you they think your motives are bad, if they question why you are doing something, or if you have some other concrete evidence that this person is really judging you, then that’s one thing. Most times, though, we feel judged by others because we are judging their motives about judging us.
For example, if my boss asks me what I did at work today, and then I walk away thinking, “He doesn’t think I work hard. He’s judging my work ethic and integrity.” I may feel judged by his question, but all I know for certain is that he asked me about what I did today. For me to assume why he asked me that questions is to judge my boss’s motives. To make the assumption that someone is judging me, I must first make a judgment about that person.
Unless other evidence is present rather than just our own suspicion or feelings, many times when we feel judged by others we are the ones who are actually judging motives, something we should not do according to the Bible (Matthew 7:7, 1 Corinthians 4:5). If we stop thinking about what others are thinking, then often times we will stop feeling judged by others.
Examine Your Own Motives in Making the Claim that Someone Is Judging You
While the Bible tells us not to judge the internal world of another, as Christians we are told to judge our own hearts and motives. We are to examine ourselves often, making sure our intentions are pure in all that we do (2 Corinthians 13:5).
Therefore, when we make the claim that we feel judged by another person, we must examine our own hearts and discover the reason why we are saying this. The danger is to claim “You’re judging me!” when you simply don’t like what this person is saying to you.
Perhaps you have a Christian friend pointing out some recurring sin in your life, perhaps your spouse is sick of your substance abuse issues, or perhaps your pastor is simply answering a question you posed with a biblical answer that is really convicting to you. Sometimes we “feel judged by others” because we actually feel guilty ourselves, and now these people are simply reinforcing the conviction we’ve already felt in our hearts and we don’t like it. Rather than repent to God, we often point the finger at the agents God is using in our lives to bring healthy conviction.
If someone is judging your external, repeated sinful behavior that is damaging to yourself or others, this person is not sinning. The Bible commands Christians to correct other Christians (1 Corinthians 5:9-13, Galatians 6:1). Our natural reaction is often to be defensive. But if we hope to grow in Christ, we should thank those who love us enough to judge us biblically.
If You Feel Judged “All the Time” or “By Everyone,” You Are Probably Not Being Judged at All
If you feel judged by others all the time, this is most likely an issue stemming from your own heart. It’s almost always a red flag when someone says “everyone is out to get me,” “all my teachers hate me,” or “everyone is wrong and I am right.”
The odds of going to multiple places, meeting many different people, and being in varying situations, and yet claiming all the people in these scenarios are doing the same thing to you is pretty unrealistic. The common denominator in all your relationships is you. If you feel judged in all your relationships, this means you probably have a heart issue you need to deal with.
Do you idolize people’s opinion of you? Do you see yourself through the eyes of others rather than through the eyes of your Heavenly Father? Do you have an issue with authority? If so, you probably feel judged by others not because everyone is judging you but because your wounded heart is always with you, skewing your perception of reality wherever you go.
If You Feel Judged By Someone All the Time, Change Yourself, Ask Them to Stop, Or Leave the Relationship
Lastly, if you regularly feel judged by an individual, you basically have three options. First, you can accept her judgement, admit that it’s valid, and change your flaws that are being judged. Maybe this person is judging you because there is a real problem in your life and she wants it to stop for your benefit. In this case, you should seek to address your issue she is pointing out. If you stop the sin, she will stop the biblical judgment.
Second, if you feel someone is unjustly judging you, you can talk to them about this, share your feelings, and ask them to change. The Bible says that when we feel another Christian is sinning against us, we should talk to them about this and seek reconciliation (Matthew 18:15-20). If she receives your correction, the judgment will stop and you will feel better.
Lastly, if you feel someone is judging you all the time, you don’t think you are doing anything wrong, you ask this person to stop, but they don’t, the Bible says you should put restrictions on this relationship. If it is a very unhealthy relationship or someone not very close to you, it’s probably best to just end the friendship and you both go your separate ways (Proverbs 14:7). If it is someone close to you like a longtime friend or family member, you should probably not cut this person off completely but you should put restrictions on the relationship. If it is your spouse, you should definitely not leave him or her for feeling judged, but you can still guard your heart towards them.
The Bible says guard your heart above all else, for it is the wellspring of life (Proverbs 4:23). If people in your life keep judging you and hurting your heart, it is your responsibility to protect yourself. You may not be able to share certain details of your life with them, you may have to limit your interactions with them, or you may have to do more listening that talking. Whatever it takes, the Bible commands Christians to guard their hearts, including when they feel judged by others.
Summary: What Should I Do When I Feel Judged By Others?
When you feel judged, you must decipher if you are being judged biblically or unbiblically, you must be honest with yourself to see if you are making this claim to escape personal responsibility for ongoing sin, and you must protect your own heart at all times.