We hear it all the time, “You shouldn’t judge; it’s wrong!”, “Well he’s judgmental so I don’t like him!”, “You can’t judge me!” Personally though, I wish I had more judgmental* people in my life!
I recently was speaking with a friend who has been hurt by another’s choices. In the process of building up my friend, I learned the other person didn’t wish my friend to be speaking with me because I “am judgmental”. In the past, I (privately) called something as I saw it that offended this other person.
Ironically though, this call I made was correct – as verified by the hurt that my friend is now experiencing from the other’s unrepentant walk of rebellion. So it all has me thinking about judgments, and how if we’d be humble enough to actually receive them, we’d avoid a lot of hurt – for everyone.
Judgment Is Awesome
We make hundreds of judgment calls a day. All day. Every day. It is essential for living through the day.
In fact, just the statement, “You’re judgmental” is a judgment call in itself. It’s so inescapable that we must do this, that Jesus didn’t (in context) tell us not to judge, but instead he set the standard that we are to follow and showed us how to do it right and well. (John 7:24)
In fact, right after the famous verse we all hear on judgment (which is actually about hypocrisy Matt 7:1), we are told we must judge (Matt 7:6). We must! (Heb 5:14; Matt 10:16; 7:15-16)
There is a simple misunderstanding that causes this dissonance (as I call it) in the judgment haters and the nervous judges.
That is, judgment and forgiveness do not oppose each other! In fact, without judgment we would not experience the sweetness of forgiveness and grace – not to mention we’d have total anarchy and chaos in our lives and societies. It is because of God’s judgment, poured out on Jesus, that we have (and can give) forgiveness and freedom like we do!
So, do you love judgment yet!?
When There Is A Good Judge
Jesus Christ is the judge of this earth (Matt 25:31-32), and last I checked, we are to be like him in every way. I know the Bible pretty dang well, and I’m not aware of any verse that says, “Be like Jesus in every way except _________.” (Eph 4:15) This doesn’t mean we’re the judge of the earth, but that we should make judgment calls. (1 Cor 6:2-6)
He was the perfect model of what humanity was and is to be: Judgmental and loving! No, judgmental because we’re loving! Calling sin, “sin”, and stupid, “stupid”. Calling hurt, “hurtful”, and destruction, “destructive”. (Gal 6:1; James 5:20)
*It is about caring and LOVING people enough to say,
“What you are doing is wrong because it will damage your life and soul, and most likely many other’s too. Also, because you aren’t even aware of why it’s sinful and how it’s hurtful, the damage will be even greater and recovery even harder.”
But When You Don’t Want Judged
And here lies the rub… The only people who go around accusing others of being judgmental are those whom are unaware of the magnitude of their rebellion or are aware of it and pridefully, willfully embracing it.
Most likely, the Holy Spirit is already convicting (John 16:8) them of this and it is simply the so-called “judgmental person” that receives the pushback for this.
Snakes are most likely to bite when they’re in a dangerous place. Since the law is written on our hearts (Rom 2:15) and the Spirit convicts us, our souls are aware of our dangerous situations even when are pride and flesh is blind to it. Unless we humbly repent and receive grace, we get venomous and lash back.
Plus, I don’t know about you, but I’ve never liked it when I’m in the wrong and someone else isn’t. That’s a phenomenon that’s familiar to all of humanity – just look at friendships on weekend nights in a college town to verify that.
Rather, when we accept that we are to make judgments (which is to be judgmental), then we can stop worrying about pleasing man and start focusing more of our energy on making correct judgments. Relieving our fear of man will also get our own identities and desires in place as well! Sounds refreshing already doesn’t it!?
Don’t agree? Go judge someone who has a full knowledge of Christ and see if they don’t say, “Oh thanks for the help! You’re a good friend.” (Eph 4:13-14; Prov 27:5-6, 28:23, 12:1, 10:21, 23)
It Doesn’t Matter How Good Or Bad It Is
Now most of what I’m saying is assuming you do have an ever-increasing knowledge of Jesus, you’re in tune with the Spirit and walking in wisdom, and you actually love people.
Apart from that, you won’t have any basis for any reasoning, and that’s exactly what I’m talking about: We can’t expect unreasonable people to have good reasoning. Eh?
Of course you must examine your motives, the nature and method in which you confront, the grace you extend, and the sin in your life as well. If all that is biblically right and good, and you are being called judgmental or mean by a person who is in sin, you must recognize that this is normal.
When we are embracing unrighteousness, it annoys us to see those who are flourishing in righteousness. I mean, they killed Jesus because of the same. He did say it would happen to us too. (John 15:18-19) The fear of man and the pride of self jacks people all up. (Prov 29:25)
Don’t Sweat The Wrongful Counter-Judgments
Here’s the hope though: I have realized more and more that the truth will always win. The ledger will always be balanced and the truth revealed. Our lives and choices, over time, will always reveal who was correct in their judgments. I’ve been at this barely long enough now to realize that, but I can certainly testify this is true.
Some of us are so good at our deception (including deception of our own self) that we can last a while, but your own misery will eventually be enough to wear you out even if the circumstances don’t crash you. I’d testify to that truth too.
The one who judges rightly, with wisdom and grace, will remain strong and steady because he is in God’s grace. (John 7:24; 1 Thess 5:14; 2 Tim 4:2; Eph 4:15, James 2:12-13)
Fact is, God takes care of his own. This is why I say, “Don’t be afraid to make judgments and make them known.” Do it in love, give forgiveness and grace, and always with the goal of building up.
If it works, you’re more like Jesus. If you get blasted in return, you’re more like Jesus. Plus, like him, you’ll be okay.
As I told my friend, “Don’t sweat it dude, you’re rolling with the God of the universe.” That’s a pretty uneven match. You’ll be alright.
You’re not here to make friends. You’re here to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Do it, and help others do the same!