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Seriously, Don’t Judge!

Listen to some of the comments I’ve heard from teammates:

“You Christian people think you’re better than us. It’s you Christian people who judge everything we do.”

“It’s the Christians who are always saying, ‘Oh my gosh, you’re doing this, you’re bad.’”

Teammates who don’t know me will look at me and say, “Don’t you make mistakes? Don’t you have flaws?”

Well, of course I do! Obviously someone along the way has told them that if they become a Christian then they’ll be perfect in everything they do. Someone has told them that if they become a Christian, they’ll never make another mistake, and they’ll be better than all the non-Christians who do make mistakes.

I pity the people who think that way! This is what we’re doing wrong. As followers of Jesus, we’ve somehow convinced ourselves that we are better than other people in our flesh. That’s why we judge. That’s why we start saying things like, “Man, I don’t think you should be drinking. You shouldn’t have beer. You shouldn’t even have wine.” Or we say, “You know what? I heard what came out of your mouth the other day. You cussed the other day. That’s not really good. The Bible says no unhealthy thing should come out of your mouth.”

Well, you know what? Whether I cuss in anger or I say “Shoot!” in anger, it’s the same thing. We as believers think the sin lies in the actual word, but it doesn’t. It’s the emotion behind the word that is the sin. I was angry. That was my sin. Yet somehow we think we’re better than others because we say “Shoot” instead of its coarser cousin.

I hang out with believers that are really comfortable in the world. They’re totally comfortable hanging out with everybody. They can hang out with people that aren’t Christians and feel totally fine around them. They’re comfortable because they aren’t judging everything people do or judging every motive.

The believers that have problems with judging are the ones that tell me, “Oh, you’re not supposed to hang out with outsiders, because they probably don’t live like you, and they don’t probably think like you.” They’ll say, “I don’t want to hang out with outsiders or non-believers, because they’re not good to be around. It’s evil.” I hear that and I say, then what was Jesus doing? That’s all he hung out with!

Christians have just got to quit judging. We have to stop. As long as we are judging, we will never be comfortable in the world. People in the faith will always have outsiders in their lives, and we can’t live comfortably if we’re always judging. We can’t witness to them, and we certainly can’t love them.

See you Wednesday.

18 thoughts on “Seriously, Don’t Judge!

  1. Bless you for those words. If we’d stop thinking we’re capable of, and deserving of, judging those around us, the world would be a much better place. And we’re told explicitly not to judge others, but we still do it. Of course, none of us is perfect, but we ought to be trying a little harder.

    Keep reminding us, Jeremy. And thanks!

  2. Great post – although I’m not sure if I agree with you 100%. When we read Matthew 7, we tend to focus on the first verse and ignore the second. We look at the words “Do not judge” as an immovable mandate that we never judge anything. But the second verse concedes the understanding that we as humans can not help but pass judgement. That second verse turns the command into a promise. Jesus knew that we would judge others. He knew that it would be impossible for use to withhold all judgement. So he goes on to tell us that the measurements we use will in turn be used against us. We will be judged in the same manner that we judge others. Ever tell someone that their shirt is ugly? Or that you didn’t like their haircut? You’re judging them. Ever tell someone that they’re a good cook? Or that they have a good voice? You’re judging them. Judgement can be both a good thing and a bad thing. We can pass a positive judgement or a negative one. To never pass judgement would be to never have an opinion about anything. We must consider 2nd Corinthians 5 while observing Matthew 7. We are not here to condemn people – but to reconcile them to Christ. If we judge in a way to uplift people, to encourage, and ultimately into reconciliation, then we will be judged in the same way. However, if we’re condescending in our judments – declaring anything we don’t like a sin and calling others heathens bound for hell… well, then we’re doing something wrong.

    • Nic

      Agreed. The judgments I talk about here are the concepts of Plank and spec. So ugly shirt, good voice, weird haircut, ect is possibly what we call a judgement. I thinks it’s stretching it to think that would be what Jesus was getting at when he made statement. I think He knew hearts of men. It makes more sense to me to think it had to do with motives of good and bad. And thinking youre better based on a point system of whose done worse things. Making a judgement call to not hang with a person because of there character is understandable and needed but to walk up to someone and call out their character without having a voice in their life will do more harm than good. So be ready to have given back in same measure you gave it out.

      • Just a coda to that thought. I think there is a difference between judging someone and having an opinion. “Dude, that’s a lousy haircut” isn’t really a judgement on that person and how they live their lives. On the other hand, that’s a great thought that calling what we don’t like a sin. I think that’s the case way too often these days.

  3. Also – I’m not sure how comfortable we should be in the world. There’s that whole notion of being in the world and not of it. And that we should not conform but instead be transformed. I’m of the persuasion that comfort leads to complacency. It’s probably a little healthy to be uncomfortable in the world so that we’re challenged to live in a way that honors God and allows Christ to be seen through us in all situations – regardless of who we hang out with. I also believe that our comfort should come from God and not the world.

    Then again, I could be completely wrong.

    • Nic

      Also agree on being in and not of the world. My peace is in Christ. I am more referring to being comfortable hanging with sinners. Jesus, seems to move with ease around the non religious where it seems some believers are rather uncomfortable in those environments.

  4. I recently read in one of the Barna books, titled Unchristian – that the church and Christians are more known for what they are against rather than than what we are for. A sad commentary on how the church interfaces with the larger culture.
    Dave

  5. Hi, Jeremy –
    Haven’t talked to you in a while…like, since high school. I just wanted to say thanks for this message.
    I walked away from church 4 years ago and am just entertaining the idea of going back. The last couple of years have been pretty crazy and I got beat up pretty good by Christians.
    I have learned more about who God is and who He wants to be through my mistakes and shortcomings then I ever thought possible. Rarely does Christ speak through those that have had little experience in truly falling on their face and having to get back up, with pockets full of humility. It’s our ability to be in the world, and all it holds….and the best way to learn is to realize that no one is better or worse. No one is perfect, and no one knows the heart of a man or woman, except God.
    Christians can be their own worst enemy….I’ve seen it first hand. In fact, I unfortunately see it every day. So, thanks again. The ability to be a Christian and be relate-able to the world around us, is a powerful thing.

    Katy (Smith) Byrnes

  6. Let’s all admit that we all judge. We can’t help it sometimes. We must realize that Jesus is the ultimate judge. In John 12 He says, “If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day.”
    Praise the Lord that He takes care of it. We don’t have to. When it comes to holding someone accountable, sharing the hole in their swing may be necessary. But we must first get permission to do that. I think we forget to ask for permission. I know I do. So we must be careful with that.
    I think the most important thing here is, is that it’s not about us anyway. Or how we think things should be. It’s about Jesus. I know I forget that sometimes too. If we call ourselves followers of Jesus and are passionately pursuing Him, then what’s in our heart and what comes out of our mouth will be a lot different than if we are stuck on ourselves and our agenda. Jesus will grab a hold of whoever He wants. We get to be used as His vessels to carry love, service, compassion, etc to others so that He is glorified. If people only hear about the things Christians can’t stand or are against rather than hearing about the greatness of Jesus and what a personal relationship with Him means, then we are missing the point of following Jesus. Jesus didn’t come to condemn. Its not up to us to do that for Him. Cause it’s not about us anyway, it’s about Him. So next time we feel the need to judge, let’s ask ourselves WHY?

    • Russ

      I like the “permission” point. We all need to put a priority on getting that from someone. Having a voice in someone’s life is key. It no longer becomes judgment it becomes a trusted lifeline to those who are sinking

  7. I’ve found that hanging out with Non-believers is what brings me closer to my faith. They teach me things from a new perspective and they also force me to assess my beliefs and question them, which I think is an important aspect of a healthy relationship with God. Associating with people of all faiths, cultures and backgrounds allows me to establish my own relationship with God rather than blindly following what I am taught by people of my own faith. I realize the importance in associating with non-believers to reflect the teachings of Christ but I learn more from them than they could ever learn from me. I think that each person simply sees Christ in a different way. Instead of Judging them based off of whether or not they identify with God in a similar way, I feel like I can learn from them and be open to the way they access the holy spirit. The only way to appreciate all of God’s beauty is to appreciate the diversity of the world.

    • KK, I think it’s awesome that you love having with non-believers. I love it too. It helps keep me grounded in my faith and when I get questioned or whatever, it’s always cool to just be transparent and not act like I know everything. I think those that do not share my faith appreciate that because it’s real. Although I wasn’t always that way.
      However, something you wrote about non-believers and the way they access the Holy Spirit confused me. If you are saying non-believers have access to the Holy Spirit then that would not be true. That is the reason they are still spiritually blind. The Holy Spirit is the reason we, followers of Jesus, are not spiritually blind.
      Instead of us judging, we can just share about the Sovereign Lord and how He has impacted our lives. We are to be different in every way. Like in Luke where it says that a lamp Is not hidden under anything, it’s placed up on something. We need to have the light of Christ shine through us for all to see.
      Keep hanging with your buds and be salt and light to them.

      • I wonder if perhaps non-believers do experience the Holy Spirit but just don’t recognize it for what it is. Obviously, if they did, they would then believe, but maybe they define it a different way to themselves (a sense of altruism, good citizenship, a love for humankind). If they opened up to it more completely and understood the grace they were receiving, that would be wonderful. But just sensing God’s goodness is a blessing in itself and maybe that leads some people to belief eventually.

        I would like to think that the Holy Spirit descends on everyone in some way whether they realize it or not. Or is that too simplistic?

      • I meant that people find their spirituality in different ways. “Holy Spirit” was used loosely to describe their connection with the goodness in the universe. I have agnostic friends who find inner peace with nature, and in a way I consider that to be their way of connecting with God, even if they don’t recognize Him by that name. I’m just very openminded on what I consider an enlightened person to be. In my opinion, if you find something that makes you a better person and allows you to help others and appreciate the beauty in the world, then you have found God. However, I also understand if you think differently about it.

      • I understand that many people are spiritual, that doesn’t mean they know Jesus. They may know about Him, but like Jesus said, a lot of people will say i did this and that, etc, but Jesus will say He never knew them. So its not what i think or you think, or anyone else thinks, its about what Jesus says.
        I do think that the Holy Spirit has to be specific to those that are saved, which is what Scripture talks about.
        I do think what were talking about here is that when people do not like to hear that Jesus is the only way to heaven, they try and figure out a different way. we as followers of Christ know that there is only one way. And that is through Jesus. so understanding others perspective and not knocking them down is key because now we are not judging we are trying to understand where they’re coming from. But we cannot just discount what Scripture says and wonder if there is another way.
        like Scripture says, there is no one righteous, no not one. So our hearts apart from Christ are wicked, no matter what we believe. Until we experience the work of Christ in our hearts we there are a lot of awesome people in the world, but if they are not saved, they unfortunately will not go to heaven, according to Scripture.
        That’s where we come in. to get to share the love of Christ and the truth of Scripture with others that may have issue with that is such a privilege to do. We get to be Jesus to them, and get the opportunity to show Christ in us.

  8. It seems to me that when we use words like”Non believers and Believers” we are drawing a line between two groups of people; we are setting up an inclusive club of sorts like I’m in ..you’re Out”. none of us can know the work of God in anyone’s heart at any one moment in time. None of us know when conversion is happening. It’s dualistic thinking that leaves God out and puts human kind in charge. We need to make room for God to be in ALL things at all times. I recommend a great book called “Everything Belongs” by Richard Rohr.

    • Nonbeliever and believer are Christianese. Those words are an example of words within the culture of Christianity that mostly only Christians understand. I have always said that myself. Now to show distinction between someone who would be called a nonbeliever and someone that would be called a believer, I just say someone who’s a follower of Christ, and not a follower of Christ.
      I don’t think that we’re drawing the line between two groups of people, I think we’re Drawing the line between two different belief systems.
      I think we need to act like followers of Jesus if we say that we are followers of Jesus. everyone will know who is a follower of Christ by the way that they love people, by the fruit that they bear.
      I think you’re right. I think that where Christians have messed up is by the way that we think we are better than other people. that ends up being a hard thing. That’s when we live out of the flesh. And in those moments we are not living by the Spirit. Christ died for each and everyone of us. Christians ought to be telling others about what Jesus did and why he did it. If we are not telling others about that then we are not doing what Jesus has commanded us to do. if we truly have been changed by the Spirit of God then people will see that and know it by the way that we treat them.

  9. No, I think you’ve said what I was trying to, only better. It reminds me of the “virtuous pagans” in Dante who weren’t condemned because they were trying to be good people even though they had no faith in God. I, too, have agnostic friends who sometimes nudge me into being a better Christian through their own lives.

    Don’t things go along so much better when we refrain from judging and love one another?

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