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How Should I Respond to a Judgmental Person?

Judgmental people frustrate me. I want to respond in kind – crossing swords with them. But Gene Horne changed my perspective with his story of God speaking to him. Since hearing his story, I try to live differently.Horne was a businessman and missionary .  I only heard him speak once, but th…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
Judgmental people frustrate me. I want to respond in kind – crossing swords with them. But Gene Horne changed my perspective with his story of God speaking to him. Since hearing his story, I try to live differently.

Horne was a businessman and missionary .  I only heard him speak once, but the story he shared colors the way I view our assignment down here on earth.  In fact, I found it so profound that years later, I called him back just to check the details.  Here they are:

When Horne was a younger man, a faith healer came to town. Signs appeared on buildings and telephone poles all over town well in advance of the evangelist and his team.  Horne had high expectations.

On the day of the crusade, Horne arrived, brimming with curiosity.  But the crowd in attendance was much smaller than he’d expected.  And when the evangelist came out on stage, he did not fit Horne’s picture of a faith healer.  As the service wore on, things seemed to go from bad to worse.  After preaching for 20 minutes, they spent nearly as long on the offering, seeming to want to squeeze the last dime out of the audience.

Finally the time came when the evangelist was going to pray for people.  By this time, Horn had grown cynical.  “This is ridiculous,” he thought to himself.

But then the most amazing thing began to happen.  As he prayed for the sick, they were healed!  Horn could not believe his eyes.  The miracles were undeniable.  

 
It seemed so out of place with the cheesy way in which the man conducted his ministry that Horn became indignant.  “God, how in the world is it that this man is seeing all this happen?  Why are you blessing his ministry?”  He asked.

It was then that one of the most flabbergasting and humbling experiences of Horne’s life occurred.  In the middle of the auditorium, God spoke to Horne in an audible voice:

“How dare you criticize one of my flawed servants; you’re one too.”

Horne was amazed and crestfallen.  The rebuke changed everything.  “We’re all flawed servants,” he realized.  We’re all Pharisees lined up with accusations and stones we’re waiting to throw.  But amazingly, God restricts himself to work through us. He’s looking for a posture of humility that results in an attitude of grace.

 
Maybe many of us have lost our margins and sense of grace during Covid. How are you known – what is your reputation? Are you known for your sharp tongue? When I die, I want to be known by family and friends as a man of grace. Goodness knows I need it…

Comments (10)

  • Me, too! Recently I read Pro. 30:1-4 and realized that’s me if I rely on myself! Except – that’s not who the Lord transforms me to be day-by-day as I live in grace. Yes, I can become self-absorbed, critical, and judgmental left to myself, but thanks be to God Who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. I Cor. 15:58

  • Such a good reminder that we are all flawed servants. My desire is to be non-judgmental yet I find myself with a visual of what a “true servant” of the Father looks like. Somehow in my mind I fit the picture and many others do not. HELP ME, LORD! Help me to understand your Love is not based on my perfection or lack of perfection. We are His created…and He loves unconditionally and is willing and desiring to use all.

  • Definitely a recurring topic in and about the body of Christ.
    In my own studies, I have found there are two NT words for judge. 1 Corinthians 2:15 a spiritual person judges (anakríno) all things.
    Mat 7:1-3 Judge not lest ye be judged  (kríno)
    The former relates to discerning or calling a proverbial spade a spade.  The latter refers to condemnation or pronouncing sentence. The problem as I see it in this case was not judgment but anger. “Horn became indignant” which is another word for resentment. He was angry because he was proven wrong. Not only did he fail to anakríno but he was angry with his brother (and God) without cause and therefore in danger of judgment. Mat 5:22

  • Thank you Daddy Seth for this story. Sometimes we can be so judgemental that we forget how God had mercy on us and saved us by his grace!!!

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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