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The Problem of Judgment

The Bible tells us, Judge not. Most of us try to believe we’re good at not judging, but the truth is, judging is a really natural thing to do.

This is how normal it is to judge. You hear somebody say, “Well, I don’t have a problem judging,” and you immediately want to say, “I doubt that.” Right? But that means you’ve just judged them! It’s that natural.

Sometimes our discipleship makes it even harder. You’re trying so hard to be a good Christian that it almost makes you more aware of your beliefs about other people. Because you’re so conscious of trying to be good, you might look at someone in your life and think, “Well, I’m good, and he’s not.”

You’ve judged him. But really, you don’t know anything about him. You might think you do. And you might look at him and say, “I know he’s bad, because I know what he did.” But if he could look inside your soul, and he could hear your thoughts, he could probably tell you where you’re bad. If we really think about it, we’ll realize that we’re not that much better than other people, even if we think we are.

Is there a time when it’s proper to make a judgment call? When the Bible says, “Judge not, that you be not judged,” is it really saying, “Don’t judge somebody?” Or is it saying, “Be careful how you judge somebody?” Or is it saying, “Judge only people in the church,” because of the fruit of the Spirit?

“Judge not.” It’s difficult for me to wrap my brain around this, even though it’s something I really want to live by. I really want to love my neighbor as myself, and that means not going around judging everyone. It’s the only way to get along. It’s the cure for most of the issues that come into play in relationships. And whether you’re fighting injustice, or merely dealing with people who think differently, things get a lot more clear when you don’t judge.

As I wrote last time, Jesus said there’s only two commands: love me and love neighbors. And recently I wrote about how simple this sounds. But it’s actually a very difficult thing to do. It’s all about being selfless. It’s all about not judging. It’s all about not doing things that come naturally!

You know how you hear people say, “Christianity is a crutch.” You’ll hear them say, “Christianity is the easy way out.” But Christianity is not a crutch and it’s certainly not easy. I would not base my crutch on Christianity, because it’s a very difficult way to live. If I’m going to choose a crutch, that’s not going to be it. It’s a very difficult foundation to stand on, because it’s so easy to judge. It’s so easy to be hypocritical. Christianity is hard, man. It asks us to transform ourselves.

It’s worth the hard work though. It’s worth it. And so I pray about it. I say, “God, I want to understand what you meant when you said, Judge not lest ye be judged.” I want to understand it fully and completely. If we didn’t judge each other, we would be better off. We would live in peace and harmony with one another.

God has heard my prayer and has recently helped me with a word picture that brings some understanding to this problem. See you Saturday.

4 thoughts on “The Problem of Judgment

  1. I am certainly guilty of judging others! It is something I have noticed in the past about myself and I have to constantly remind myself to quit it. Instead, I always tell myself that things aren’t always as they seem. There’s simply no way that any person can gather enough from the surface about a fellow individual that would allow for any judgment to be justified. Even if you see a prostitute, alcoholic, criminal, etc…yes, maybe they are guilty of doing things that appear to be wrong or even sinful but you are still in no place to judge them for it. That is not our place.

  2. Awesome topic Jeremy. I’ve been working on recognizing ego in my life. Judging others & unbalanced ego… I feel they go hand in hand. Thank you!

  3. The first thing I did after reading this was to ask God to forgive me for all the judging I’ve been doing. Then, I got to thinking about it. Since I’m a teacher, it’s literally my job to judge. Not only do I have to assess student work and assign grades, but I have to make all kinds of subtle judgments too. Are they doing their own work? Are they giving this their best effort? Did their grandmother really die? (Grandmothers beware: mid-terms and finals are really dangerous times for you.)

    I have to give them A’s, B’s, C’s, and F’s. And with graduate students, I’m one of the people who has to judge whether they have earned the right to put extra letters after their names.

    I’ve always been hyper-aware of the enormity of this job. A good teacher can change the world for her students, by encouraging them and helping them and leading them into a better life. And they take their families and communities into that better life with them, so doing a good job means doing something really important. But it also means judging. All the time, judging!

    Have I figured out how to live with this? I think so. I make all the required judgments of my job with an eye to the big picture – that better life for them. But I resist judging whether they are good people or not. I don’t think I’ve taken God’s place when I give a student a low grade for not even bothering to run a simple spell check. I’ve only judged them for being lazy and not taking themselves seriously, but it’s only for that assignment. It’s not a sweeping judgment on their humanity!

    It’s God’s place to decide the ultimate worth of a human being. It’s God’s place to say, “You are a good person,” or “You are not a good person.” That is never my place, and when I do that (and it surely is natural, I do it all the time), then I confess that sin as soon as I’ve realized it.

    For me, that’s what Our Lord meant when He said, “Judge not.” Before I decide who is good and who is bad, who has sinned and who is forgiven, may I always remember that it’s not my decision to make. And as Jeremy says here, there’s no way I could make a judgment like that without being a total hypocrite. So it’s worth remembering what Jesus might say to me in Judgment Day. “Forewarned is forearmed.” LOL!

  4. It’s good to see people who actually live the teachings of the man they profess to follow. I was raised Episcopalian and grew up in an open-minded and accepting church environment. I’d consider myself agnostic now, mostly because of people doing exactly what you are talking about. ‘Judge not, lest ye be judged’ sounds great, but many people immediately shrug off that idea when it clashes with their personal convictions. I think Jesus had some really great messages and ideas he wanted his followers to keep in mind when preaching, but unfortunately too many so-called Christians seem to forget Jesus’ teachings and embrace those of lesser men in other parts of their holy book. Bravo to you, Jeremy, and bravo to people like you who continually work to make our world a better place for everyone to live in.

    P.S. – Go Giants 😀

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