There was a day and age when the most quoted Bible verse by people was John 3:16. Today, it’s Matthew 7:1. How many times do I hear “Christans aren’t supposed to judge!” Little problem people. It’s impossible to avoid making any judgments whatsoever. In fact, you judged that it was worth your time today to read this blog. (I hope you will judge it worth your time to continue reading.)
Here are some examples of other judgments you make.
Chances are, you lock your doors at night because you judge that there are evil people out there who wouldn’t mind wishing you harm in some way.
Chances are, you interview babysitters before they sit your kids because you want to judge whether they will take care of your kids or not.
Chances are, you don’t marry the first person you see because you want to date them to judge if you want to spend your life with them.
Every day you are making numerous judgments. It can’t be avoided! In fact, if you’re a Christian and you complain that someone is judging, are you not judging that person as being judgmental? Have you not made your own judgment on them. Notice I’m not saying that that’s wrong. I’m just saying that’s what you’re doing.
Now some of you might be wondering, “Well Jesus said judge not lest you be judged, but you’re saying that we should go on and judge any way? Then you’re throwing out what Jesus said?”
It’s a valid point. If we say “Any and all judging is permissible,” then that is exactly what we are doing. However, notice what Jesus says next though. He tells us that we will be judged by the standard we judge others. What I believe he is telling us to avoid is hypocrtical judging, the kind that sees a speck in a brother’s eye while we have a log in our own.
I also believe this is a statement against pre-judging. Many of us can have our own prejudices that we have to work out and it might not just be racial. You might think, for instance, that someone who drinks alcohol can’t be a truly devoted Christian. There is a story about a professor at a Bible College who went to see C.S. Lewis and when he came back his students wanted to know all about it. He told them “Well, he drinks wine and he smokes a cigar, but I think he’s saved.”
Maybe some of us need to get past some stereotypes of what a Christian is and what one isn’t. There are some beliefs even that it might be wrong for you to do and not someone else. Romans 14 and 1 Cor. 8-10 tells us this. I, for instance, do not drink alcohol. I have no desire to do so. It doesn’t mean though that I impugn on those who do. I just ask that they make sure they control their alcohol instead of their alcohol controlling them.
As an intellectual, and I believe Lewis spoke of this in his writings, it’s hard to think of some people truly enjoying the Christian life if they’re not intellectual. However, Lewis reminded us that while that little old lady might not know the Chalcedonian Creed, chances are she has you whipped entirely in prayer and her holiness puts you to shame. This is a prejudice that I do have to work with. I can’t see my brothers and sisters who don’t jump into the intellectual arena as living less Christian lives. Now I will say if they are anti-intellectual, I have a problem, but I think of many like my own mother for instance, who could not read a book on apologetics at all, but she can sure sing in church and she definitely supports me!
I’ll also say that in most cases, I don’t think we’re to judge on salvation. Now if you have the atheist or the Mulsim or the Hindu who isn’t repentant and who is living in a worldview that contradicts the gospel, yeah. If you have a Christian who is struggling with sin though, it’s really not your call to make. Interestingly, in the Calvinist/Arminian debate, both sides could say something about a Christian who is living in sin.
Calvinist-Never saved to begin with.
If such is what is being said, then it seems the person is losing out anyway. Still, I don’t see this as something to judge. I have good friends who I believe are Christians but are struggling with a lot in their lives. I take their struggle as evidence of their Christianity as they know that they have work to do and want to live lives pleasing to God.
Judging though is essential and it could be it’s not accepted in our world because we’ve become a society driven by tolerance where we’re afraid of speaking the truth lest it offend someone and we must treat all worldviews as equal. Some ideas are wrong though and some are right. We have all right to judge them. Of course, we might watch the tone whereby we judge them, but we judge them nonetheless.