To Judge or Not to Judge
Jesus said, "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven."1
As you can well imagine we receive a constant flow of emails in response to Daily Encounter. Most of the responses are very encouraging and appreciated. However, we do receive our share of negative criticisms especially when I write on controversial topics. What is somewhat amusing is that when I criticize something that I believe is wrong, I get criticized by those telling me I shouldn't criticize or judge others.
Fred (not his real name) recently wrote to me saying, "We Christians are not to judge but to teach love, honor, respect and forgiveness. We believe in God and they believe in their religion. Whatever our and their beliefs are, we are all children of God. The question is, what would Jesus do?"
I especially appreciate Fred's last question about "what would Jesus do?" In Jesus day when the money changers were misusing the temple, Jesus took a whip with him into the temple and drove the money changers out. And when it came to the hypocrisy of the religious Pharisees, Jesus severely condemned them saying,
"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.… You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?"2
Jesus was not soft on evil doers. He didn't mince words and knew exactly how and when to exercise tough love. We, too, need to take a stand against all evil.
Yes, it is true that God's Word says that we are not to judge others, but it also says we are to judge all things.3 This means that we are not to be judgmental as persons; that is, not to be a negative, critical person looking for the faults in others. When we do this, it is usually because we are projecting our own unresolved issues onto others. But we are also told in the Bible that while we are to love others, we are to judge wrong and sinful actions—and take a strong stand against these things.4
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please give me the insight to know—and the courage to stand for—what you are for and what you are against, and to do this in a spirit of love and not in a negative judgmental attitude. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Luke 6:37 (NIV).
2. Matthew 23:27-28,33 (NIV).
3. 1 Corinthians 2:15(NKJV).
4. 2 Timothy 4:2 (NKJV).
Suggestion: To have a part in standing for what is right you may want to read and sign the Manhatten Declaration at: http://www.manhattandeclaration.org/home.aspx. Or for Australians there is the Canberra Declaration at: http://www.canberradeclaration.org.au/.