Armor From Judgment
I am in high school, and I struggle everyday with the feeling that people are judging me. It has really started to affect me. I have some days when I can't go without crying multiple times. I had an incident when someone wrote a hurtful letter judging me and the way I dress. I always try to tell myself not to react, but I can't help it. What insight can you give me?
The most important thing I can tell you is not to let it bother you. I know that you probably hear that a lot, but I have more to say than just that. I'm sure you remember the story about the woman who committed adultery in John 8. It may help to refer to that story. To sum it up, a woman is brought to Jesus by the Pharisees as a way to test him. They tell him that her punishment by law is to be stoned to death. They ask him what shall be done. He says to the crowd of men that the man who has committed no crime may throw the first stone. As you might guess, all the men there drop their stones and leave. After seeing that the woman is the only one left, Jesus says to her, "I judge no man" (John. 8:15). You must see this girl through Jesus' eyes. I know it's hard -- believe me, I do -- but you have the power of God and the knowledge of the greatest prophet and individual in history, Jesus, by your side.
I'm sure you know that many people judged Jesus everyday. He struggled more than anyone could ever imagine. People judging his words and works led to his crucifixion. But he knew that God never criticized him, and that knowledge is now passed to you and everyone. Remember that God's opinion of you (or anyone) is the only one that matters. No one can make you think or feel less about yourself unless you let him or her. Know that you are not the only one who struggles with feeling judged. Everyone goes through it at one time or another. And there will probably always be people who judge you and who want to make you feel inferior. What they most need is NOT your judgment of them as being judging-type people, but your love of them.
Just remember Jesus' counsel: "Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven" (Luke 6:37).