Tuesday, September 30, 2008

On Judgement

These are some raw thoughts that I've been kicking around in part due to my "True<" post and part due to the circumstances in my life and ministry in the past year+. I'll admit that once you are fired for NOT judging others, it is hard to let this theme go. At the same time, it is also a challenge not to stand in judgment of those who have wronged me. This theme keeps rearing its ugly head, and this is my attempt to vocalize my thoughts on this topic, while admitting that I am speaking about myself first, and others in general second. It is meant as simply an exploration of an idea; an understanding, with no intention to offend or inflict pain. Please respect it as such.


On Judgment and Judging Others:

When we become judgemental of others (and we all do it), we judge them based on the (perhaps unconscious) concept that we are closer to "perfection" (as we understand it) than that person is, and that we are closer to perfection that is that person.

Therefore, we feel free to stand in condemnation and conviction over someone who does not measure up to our "ideal". This could be someone we call a heretic because they have differing beliefs than we do. It can be someone who is gay, had premarital sex, had an abortion, committed adultery, has been in prison, and on it goes. It even seems that some want to be the judge of women who seek the pulpit in fulfillment of their calling (article here) from God. Is it our right to judge these people?

Because we see ourselves as "closer to perfection" than those around us, we give into our nature to be judgmental. Yet we have all "sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." (Rom. 3:23). We have all come up short next to perfection. And God, by the very nature and definition, is perfection.

Therefore, Judgment rests SOLELY in the realm of God, and is never perceived as a task for mankind. Yes, we have a court system for offences of a person against another person. But that is the task of the institution, not of the individual. Perhaps being judicial and being judgmental are two different things. One proceeds justice, while the other breeds injustice!

We are never called in our scriptures to stand in judgment over another person for something we perceive to be "sinful". No, indeed we have only one command: "to love others as [Christ] has loved [us]." (John 15:12). Or perhaps, since it is a comparison between two people/groups, the command to "love your neighbor as [you love] yourself." (Mt. 22:39).

We are commanded to love ALL regardless of how short we think/perceive they fall from OUR standards... from OUR "ideal". We are to leave to perfection...to THE DAVINE the task of "separating the wheat from the tares" (Matt. 13:24-29).

We may just be surprised to find how man people we considered to be the weeds/tares who are actually the healthy, life-giving grain. Conversely, we may be even more surprised to discover that all of this time we have spent in condemnation of others, indeed we were the ones that God considered to be the destructive weeds in the earth. Perhaps that what we should think of when we consider judgment; not the perceived flaws in others, but how we are fulfilling God's commands in our lives.

And what happens when we finally see God and God doesn't see things the same way we do? What happens when those that we deemed to be guilty, are held up as shining examples of God's work in this world (much like the centurion in Matt. 8), and those that we deemed worthy and good, are chastised by God? Will we then stand in judgment of God, for that seems to be the way we act now in our arrogance of "knowledge" about God and Judgment. Or perhaps this is what it truly means when the scriptures say, "As surely as I live,' says the Lord, 'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God." (Romans 14:11).

Every person will bow in humility at how holy and righteous God is, and how far off we might have been in our judgment. We will then have to trust God's judgement, in whatever way it is manifest. There will be nothing we can do about it from our prone positions. We will finally be faced with having to accept God as is, not as we want or "know" God to be.

In conclusion, perhaps we're we too busy trying to BE God that we fell short of allowing God to work in and through us? Perhaps we fall short in allowing God to make us into whom God wants us to be, because we're too busy trying to play God instead. God wants to make us instruments of love in this world. It is in allowing God to transform us into the light of the world...the love of the world, that we find that we are too busy to judge. All of our time and energy has been taken up by being love.


  1. man, it's like your eyes are being opened. love ya dude.

  2. I think that I've known this for a long time, I've just never had to sit down and make a rational/logical, drawn-out explanation of why I embrace people with love and fight being judgmental.

    sad, at one point is was simply common sense. But now I realize (my eyes were open to the fact) that what may be come naturally as common sense to me doesn't come easy to the people that I would think it would come most natural to.

    regardless, I think you and I agree that living a life of love and not playing judge and jury is a better way to live. That is the simple language I have been using up until now. I thought it was time for a more astute approach!

    thanks for reading and encouraging bro!

    I have decided as hard as this is, I love people too much to give up on them! And THAT is why this has been soo stinkin hard!

  3. don't underestimate the profundity of a revelation like this to a Southern Baptist :)

  4. Good post---we all know it but we all do it at some point. It's easier to judge others rather than look inward and judge ourselves. See--- http://theopoet4camp.blogspot.com/2008/10/intensive-gospel-study-john-7.html

  5. thanks for your thoughts and the link Ben!

    You're right, it always seems about doing what is easiest rather than what we are called to do/be!

  6. No problem---wouldn't you know I got this message in my inbox on Faceboook:Matthew 7 (Matta 7)
    To members of The Beatitudes
    Gokhan Yenileyen

    October 5 at 9:55am
    "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
    "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother. 'Let me take the speck out of your eye.' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?
    You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.
    "Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.

  7. Also, I'm sorry you were fired for not being judgemental enough---it seems that if you talk about an all-loving God, who accepts everyone and you don't draw lines in the sand to divide humanity, you get labeled too Liberal or unorthodox. This is why Fred Phelps picketed Mister Rogers' funeral: http://forums.randi.org/archive/index.php/t-5589.html. I also think the apologists of the church as a whole overgeneralize things instead of dealing with individuals on an individual level.

  8. I think that those are very fair and accurate points!