Judgmental vs. Diagnostic

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” –Matthew 7:1-5

Many of us are familiar with these words of Jesus. How wise and helpful they are when we are drawn toward judgement of others! But how do we hold these words to be true and still faithfully assess our ministries?

There is a posture that we can learn from Jesus. Judgement can be deeply unhelpful when it is simply directed toward others. When all of our critique is directly outward it can threaten collaborative relationships. However, if we are instead entering into a time of learning and growth together, the same assessment can have a completely different meaning.

An easy way to distinguish between different types of evaluation is asking, “Is this judgmental or is it diagnostic?” You may even instinctively be able to feel the difference. To be diagnostic is to be curious and open to whatever the result may be. And ultimately, to be diagnostic is to seek to bring greater health.

To learn more, check out Ray Schulte’s essay Performance Evaluation: An Experience of Hell or a Taste of the Kingdom?

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