Jesus prioritized love as the greatest commandment (Matt. 22) and said, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”(8)
In this sense the opposite of love is not hate. The opposite of love is judgment because judgment is the foundation of hate. To judge someone requires that we distance ourselves from them. Love comes from human connection whereas hate is fueled by separation. Judgment produces this separation, including many forms of hate-filled injustices, such as those related to religion, lifestyle, gender, sex and sexual orientation, and race. By projecting our securities outward, we avoid the vulnerability that comes from looking inward.
The unconscious mind is wired to separate from and judge others. It thrives on proving that we are right and someone else is wrong. Similarly, judgmental Christianity creates a culture of superiority and self-righteousness, and in the process, limits our abilities to grow spiritually and connect with others.
Unconscious Christians judge others and use Bible verses to do it. This creates spiritual blind spots. Jesus condemned this type of blindness when he said, “Do not judge. […] Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in someone else’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”(9)
When someone’s actions bother us, rather than immediately judge them, we can also make the choice to look inward. We can ask ourselves what our righteous indignation is telling us about what we may need to work on in our own lives. Judgment often goes both ways. People who harshly judge others often judge themselves harshly as well. We can’t truly love others until we can love ourselves. Similarly, we can’t truly stop judging others until we stop judging ourselves. To be more loving can be challenging, but it is an important spiritual practice. As Jesus said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”(10)
8. Luke 6:37, NIV
9. Matt. 7:1,3, NIV
10. John 13:35, NIV