Why Judging Others Looks A Lot Like a Circus

Ever find yourself caught up in someone else’s circus chasing after monkeys that aren’t yours to chase?

The old Polish proverb Not my circus, not my monkeys may apply to our tendency to judge someone’s monkeys when it isn’t even our circus.

My Circus Needs a Bigger Heart

At the beginning of 2018, I asked God what He wanted me to learn in the year ahead.  He answered with one word: LOVE.  What? Haven’t I already mastered this?

After all, my constant prayer over the past few years has been “Lord, enlarge my heart so I may love without prejudice or judgment.”  Obviously, my heart needs to be a lot bigger.

My conscience is pricked by the amount of times a day I am too quick to judge others by their…

  • Appearance
  • Actions
  • Words
  • Differences in personality

Little annoyances like seeing a woman walking in my neighborhood with the most ridiculous looking hat prompt me to repent of judging her choice.  I don’t have the right to criticize her preferences.

Not my circus.

In my marriage, how often do I try to correct or judge my husband from the list above?

Whose Circus is this, anyway?

As part of my learning to love well,  I am memorizing and meditating on love scriptures (like 1 Corinthians 13).  Confronted with the Truth, the written Word reveals that my heart needs a lot of enlarging if I’m going to be one who loves without prejudice or judgment.

Lord, have mercy!

Judge Not

Whichever Bible translation I read Matthew 7:1-5 from, the truth still hurts:

Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.  For you will be treated as you treat others…And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye[c] when you have a log in your own?  How can you think of saying to your friend,[d] ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye?  Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye. Matthew 7:1-5 

For another translation, click here. 

It’s all about Perspective

In this passage, Jesus wryly observes perspective. The closer an object gets to the eye, the larger it appears.

—a splinter from afar is log-sized if it’s in one’s eye. So, a fault in one’s own life is a far greater problem than the same fault in another’s life—the opposite of how we tend to think. But the point of the passage is to shut up only until one corrects one’s own life. ~ Jason Staples  

Jesus wants us to know the difference between judging and discerning. If I criticize  because I think I have a better way of making better choices, could it be that I’m a little too close to what’s wrong in my own life?

The major difference in a judgmental heart and a discerning heart is that we look at the world through a lens of “I am broken, too.”  ~ David McQueen

Wayne Stiles reminds us that “Seeing someone else’s faults should be a cue for us to examine our own lives.” 

This is MY Circus, these are MY Monkeys

Recently I hastily offered Dennis my advice about something he should do. Right out of my mouth slipped, “Love does not demand its own way, Debbie.”  

I tried to pick out the speck in Husband’s eye, when the log in my own collided with the part of my heart that needs enlarging. WHAM!

Here’s the deal: my judgmental heart is my circus.  And my judgmental and prejudiced attitude toward others? That’s MY monkeys.

My circus is not to change my husband or any other person.

I have enough monkeys of my own to tame.

Know your own circus, so you can know which monkeys YOU should chase.


Photo by Becky Phan on Unsplash




















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