We’ve all been hearing this a lot lately, “Don’t judge.”
Don’t judge what? A situation? A person? A government leader? A government as a whole?
Let’s look at judging on a normal, easy-to-determine, level. I travel to the grocery store. The last time I was here, I bought Cheerios. I hated them.
They were disgusting.
I decide instead to purchase Frosted Flakes because I have determined that Cheerios simply aren’t for me.
This is a judgement call.
Ok, not what you meant?
Then let’s say you’re sitting with a group of friends and you say, “Have you had Cheerios lately? I hate them, they’re gross.”
Someone else disagrees.
“I love Cheerios,” they say. “Frosted Flakes? Now that’s disgusting.”
“Well,” you respond, “Then I hate you.”
Hmmm….that escalated quickly.
But the truth is we often determine who we like/dislike based off of what they believe, common ground, so on and so forth.
For example, I simply, on a personal level, cannot watch CNN…er…I can’t watch FOX NEWS either. It’s not because I’m untrusting or think I’m only getting fake news. I’m sure I’m getting some fake news and some truth from either side. No, the reason I can’t watch is because each side is so filled with vitriol and hatred toward the other, that I end up feeling depressed and angry after twenty minutes, sometimes five. Ugh. What’s the line from Bill Murray in Ghost Busters? “He slimed me.”
It’s the same feeling I get when I have to hear someone else go on and on about how much they can’t stand another person at work or church; after a while you start to feel sick all over.
Here’s that section in scripture where Jesus said, “Don’t judge,” in it’s entirety instead of as a media soundbite that’s spewed out right before someone proceeds to tear down another person they hate…for judging them.
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 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.
“Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.”
If Jesus is saying that we’re not supposed to judge anyone ever, then who in verse 6 are the “dogs” and “pigs” ? Is it a judgement call that I should be careful around the people in verse six and not give them my life savings, or the care of my children?
If I’m not supposed to judge ever, then how will I, in verse 5, “see to take the speck out of my brothers eye”? Wouldn’t I have to make a judgement call in order to do that?
You can’t carelessly read the first section of this verse and use that as your creed for life.
Here’s an example:
We own a Nintendo Switch and my kids love playing on it.
But…there are stipulations that go something like this:
“You kids can’t play on the Nintendo Switch unless you’re willing to share it. Set a fifteen minute timer per turn so that each one of you gets an equal turn. Keep an eye on each other to make sure that none of you go over fifteen minutes. Also, I certainly don’t want to hear any complaining about someone taking an extra long turn from the very person that always cheats and takes extra long turns. Also, if so and so comes over, make sure you put the Nintendo in a safe place, because even though we love and care about them we know they get sticky fingers when it comes to cool technology.”
Now, did I, in this paragraph say, “You kids can’t play on the Nintendo Switch.” Yes, yes I did. But it’s certainly not all I said, and when read in it’s entire context, makes perfect sense.
Have you read your whole Bible, more than a couple times or for five minutes each morning? Are you aware of how many times God/Jesus calls down judgement on someone, or someone in authority calls down judgement on someone else?
Jesus called the Pharisees a “pit of vipers,” and “whitewashed tombs full of dead man’s bones.”
He said of Judas, “It would be better for him if he had never been born.”
Are these judgmental statements?
So lastly, who is in a position to judge? A teacher will tell you it’s in their classroom. A manager will say it’s their business. The police will say it’s their jurisdiction. Parents will say it’s their children. Read Romans 13. (C’mon. I’m not going to put every verse down for you! If you’re reading this, then I’m sure you know how to read – there is a “Bible app for that.”)
Why does judging have such a negative connotation?
It’s only negative when the Judge rules against your case and for your opposition.
I’m counting on God judging justly. And if I follow Him and keep His commandments, He will pass down a very positive judgement.
In closing, the judging verse never worries me. I’m not concerned when people quote it because it generally means they want to get away with something. (Have you ever noticed that people who think the Bible is a joke and don’t believe Jesus was God and laugh at Christians, are the ones quoting the Bible – a book they hate and don’t agree with – whenever they say, ‘don’t judge’? Satan quotes the Bible as well when tempting Jesus in the wilderness.)
The verses that I feel the most concern over are found in Luke 10.
“And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”
I ask myself three questions when a situation of judgement comes up:
- Am I in a position of either authority(manager) or relationship(brother) to make this judgement call?
- Am I seeing this correctly, or do I have a log in my own eye?
- If I were them, how would I want to be called out on this: the most loving private way possible, or on national TV with everyone watching?
Women have tried to have affairs with me, (I’m nothing special – it happens to every guy in varying degrees. Don’t go getting all puffed up over it) and as quietly and kindly as possible I’ve moved them along with a text or e-mail, body language, saying in so many words, “Hey, I’m not interested.” That is a positive judgement in favor of their husband, their children and their extended family. And it’s a positive judgement in favor of mine as well. A poor judgement would be to take them into my bed in secret and destroy all of the above. It’s not a negative judgement on anyone. It’s more of a, “Let’s get back on track serving the Lord.”
When a man comes into Madison House that we’ve never seen before and says, “I”m here to pick up,” looks down and scrolls on his phone, looks up and and says, “so and so.” We as a staff say, “We’ve never seen you before in our lives. We’re not letting you take this kid.” The parent shows up five minutes later and says they never sent anyone to pick up their kid.
We made a positive judgement, for that kid, his parents, and Madison House.
Luke 10:27-28 should be more frightening because it’s the two verses Jesus states as being the most important of all the laws.
Do I really love the Lord my God with everything that is in me and my neighbor as myself?
No, I don’t. And I need mercy and strength that only comes from a relationship with Jesus in order to accomplish His will.
Revelation 20:11-15. (Again, since I can only imagine that you’re reading this online, you can look it up. Google or app, it’s only a click away.) :).