Wednesday, February 21, 2007

"You're judging me!"

Oftentimes, when Christians are speaking out in a righteous manner about a certain sort of thing with-which-they-do-not-agree, the people feeling threatened will toss out the standard "You're judging me, the Bible says not to judge!" line. I reason that it is totally justified in judging someone by Biblical standards, as long as the judger is not being hypocritical.

When non-Christians use this line against Christians, I believe they are referring to either Matthew 7 or Luke 6, starting in verse 37. Let's take a look at a portion of Matthew 7, and not just verse 1.

1"Do not judge so that you will not be judged.
2"For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.
3"Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?
4"Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the
log is in your own eye?
5"You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.
6"Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

This passage is condemning hypocritical judgement. FYI, Luke also contains similar verbage, including a part stating that the measure which you use will be used on you. Once you have removed the log (sin) from your own life, then you will see clearly enough to go fix that other guy's life. It's not as if Christians can't speak out against sin and whatnot. It's that they must hold themselves in accord with their own standards, which should be Biblical standards.

In doing some more research for this post, I came across some enlightening commentary on verse 6 of Matthew 7. Perhaps verse 6 is saying that when we give what is holy (Biblical truths) to non-Christians, they will reject it. So just confronting non-Christians with the Bible will not necessarily always work on them.

So the conclusion of the matter is that, yes, I do judge. But when I do, I make sure that my own life is clear of the stuff which I am judging. If it's not, then I have no authority to speak out against it. When judging is done, it should be done in a compassionate manner. If I have been overly abrasive in any of my "incendiary" hot-topic posts, then I apologize. I'm not perfect by any means; sometimes I want to be harsh and abrasive and judge in unloving manners, and that is wrong. In my defense, I do believe that hot-topic posts are often preceded by disclaimers saying that one size does not necessarily fit all, and that life circumstances might make this-or-that absolutely necessary.

Some sources:
The Cult of "Do not Judge" (long article with lots of Bible verses to back it up)
What does the Bible mean that we are not to judge others?
Answers to Tough Questions

Disclaimer: My linking to these pages does not necessarily mean that I agree with all the content on the corresponding site.

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2 have poured out their souls in electronic text:

  • KellyM

    I wish more Christians understood this, and also understood that the Bible cannot be chopped up into sound-bytes and used to justify something that goes against the meaning of the passage. I'm in the middle of challenging a Christian's divorce and planned remarriage, and she keeps telling me that I can't judge her and "He who is without sin, cast the first stone." The irony hit me like a ton of bricks, because that sound-byte comes from a passage in which a woman was caught in adultery, and Christ didn't dismiss her sin, but told her to "Go and sin no more." If she had taken any time to read the verse in context, she never would have tried to use it in her own defense.

    I find it is under-emphasized in our churches that we are commanded to hold each other accountable for our sins. If it were taught more, I wonder if we wouldn't hear less "Don't judge me!"

    Good post.

  • JunkMale

    Christian divorce and remarriage...that's surely one that's ignored much these days. I'm assuming that the woman in question is remarrying someone other than her original husband? The other night, my wife and I were wondering aghastly about how often Christians overlook Jesus' commands regarding divorce and remarriage. It seems pretty obvious to me. Then again, I am very glad that I will never be in that situation, because it is probably really really hard. Tell her it's not you that's judging, it's the Bible!

    I'm very curious, how does she Biblically justify what she is wanting to do?

    Hopefully your challenge goes well, and I thank you for standing up for one of God's frequently overlooked commands.