Are You 'Judgmental'?


Summary:

There is an extremely serious error - and its associated false belief - that is currently committed and held by large numbers of people. This error is literally making people unwilling or unable to discern truth. And what is this error? It is believing that all "judgment" is wrong. Many are quick to say, 'oh, you'd better be careful about judging others'.  Like many things, that could be a true or false statement depending upon the context of the comment.  One thing is for sure, MANY people are proclaiming, "don't judge" in a horribly wrong way...in an extremely damaging way...a way caused by a deeper problem of denying truth exists.

The key point to understand about this topic is that not all judgment is wrong, just various types of judgment. In fact, some kinds of judgment are critically important and right.  The types of judgment that are wrong according to Joshua include condemnatory judgment of groups of people.  People are individuals and while they may be part of a group - "I'm a Russian" for example - it is individuals who are morally responsible for their actions.  Another type of judgment that is wrong is to condemn individuals based on attributes they cannot change.  Examples of things people cannot change include things like where they were born or the color of their skin or other physical aspects, or how 'smart' they are, or what language they speak or don't speak, what race or ethnicity they are, etc.

Another wrong type of judgment is hypocritical judgment.  Hypocritical judgment is to say to someone, "you should not do that" or "you should do this" when I myself are not abstaining from or not doing the very same or similar things.  For example, if I say to another person, 'you should not smoke cigarettes', and yet I myself smoke cigarettes.  Or I say, 'you ought to give money to poor people' when I myself and not doing so. 

Yet another wrong type of judgment is self-righteous judgment which is to have our judgment biased by self-pride, meaning I think myself better or more valuable than other people and thus my judgments are regularly critical of other people and putting them down.

On the other hand, right judgment is commended by Joshua as we will see. Right judgment includes the judging of truth versus falsehood or right and wrong human behavior; the sincere and serious judgment of our own faults and weaknesses; as well as the gentle, and compassionate and thus non-condemnatory judgment and correction of other's wrong beliefs or wrong behavior.

Simply put, those that are quick to say, "Don't judge" or irrationally or hypocritically tell others, "you are judgmental", are generally those people who don't hold to any objective truth but rather believe that their beliefs are correct and others are wrong.  The whole stance or response of "Don't judge" or "you are judgmental" is a way to try and force others to their existential view that no objective or absolute truth exists.  As followers of the One who says, "I am the truth", we reject that view and instead believe Joshua.

Introduction:

"Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment."

(John 7:24)

"You have rightly judged..."

(Luke 7:43)

"Yes, and why, even of yourselves, do you not judge what is right?"

(Luke 12:57)

As you can see above, Joshua of Nazareth exhorts others to make right judgements and commends others for making right judgments.  Therefore, not all judgement is wrong.

He also says this...

"Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.  Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?  Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye."

(Matt. 7:1-5)

Are these sayings contradictory, or complimentary?  They are clearly complimentary.

If you look at the context of the sayings above where he is exhorting others to make right judgments or commending them for making right judgments, he is addressing judging whether something is true or false, right or wrong.  This is especially true with religious beliefs or beliefs about God.  Joshua was regularly correcting people's wrong beliefs about God and what God wants.  This is what got him into so much trouble because people's pride was offended when he said in some form, 'your belief about God is wrong' or 'this thing you do for God He doesn't want'.

The latter saying above where Joshua says, "Do not judge so that you will not be judged" is a great warning to us to not make the WRONG type judgments.  In that saying, he is specifically focusing on the self-righteous type of wrong judgment (which often lead to hypocritical judgments), where I am overlooking my own faults and problems and instead focusing on another persons.

For example, if I see someone from another nation or who speaks another language or who is wearing clothes I don't like and I say, "Oh, that person is inferior or wrong or bad or 'low class'" do to those things, then I have made a WRONG judgment and God will judge me with the same degree of strictness.  Dear reader, you really don't want that, because all you will do is condemn yourself...and if you can't see that, then you are bound by self-pride and you are in a bad place.

Surely you have either been accused yourself, or have been the accuser, saying to someone something like, "you had better be careful, you are judging someone and Jesus says we are not to judge". Normally, this response comes when you have said (or have heard someone say) something that is perceived as negative (in reality probably corrective) about some person or belief or event or organization.

The simple truth is we all make judgments all the time.

If you see a man beating up a young child, you will make a judgment that his behavior is wrong and needs to be stopped. If you hear a person say something you perceive as negative about your mother or children, then you will immediately judge that person's words! If you decide not to go into a certain neighborhood during the evening hours, then you are making a judgment. As you listen to some preacher say that God commands you this night to give your entire savings account to 'his ministry', you will make a judgment. As you are reading my words in this article, you are judging them against your understanding of what is true. This is a good thing, for Joshua commands it (John 4:24, 8:32), and it is part of the rational mind that God gave us to sort out that which is true from that which is false.

Telling people not to judge is irrational and wrong from two perspectives.  First, as we have seen, all people make judgments, thus making the statement "you should not judge" without a qualifier, is at best poorly stated.  More importantly, those who make the statement, "you should not judge" are being hypocritical because they have judged another's words or actions, and that is why they told them not to judge! As soon as you tell someone not to judge, you yourself have judged their opinion or judgment as somehow wrong. When we contradict ourselves, we are failing to reason well and thus we are in error. 

Two or more people going around in circles demanding of each other, 'you better not judge' is an irrational exercise. The real issue that must be recognized before the emotions get too impassioned, is what is the truth regarding the matter at hand. Instead of accusing one another of 'judging', what should happen is the clearer thinking person should ask the all important question, "what does Joshua say in regard to this issue?" This is always the proper way out from accusations of "judge not". Sadly, in many circumstances, those accusing another of 'judging' are not interested in what Joshua has to say, but rather in protecting their own incorrect opinions or tightly held traditions of men of which Christianity is full.

Here is another example of a wrong understanding of "judgment".  A contentious issue these days is 'gay marriage'.  If a person says, "gay marriage is wrong", then they are highly likely to be subjected to people rebuking them saying, 'you are a judgmental person' or 'you should not condemn homosexuals' or 'Jesus says love, not hate'.

All of those rebukes are wrong.

Knowing right behavior from wrong behavior is critical for any people group who want to hold to some unifying moral ethic.  Those who listen to the real Joshua of Nazareth know he teaches that marriage is defined by the Creator as between one man and one woman for life - see A Basic Framework for Human Sexuality.  In the case of the 'you are a judgmental person' rebuke, a proper response could be, 'well, in context, thank you!  It is important that we judge what is right behavior from wrong behavior'.

In regard to the 'you should not condemn homosexuals' rebuke, a proper response could be, 'I did not say that I condemn homosexual persons, I said I don't believe God's definition of marriage includes two same gendered people'.

In regard to the, 'Jesus says love, not hate' rebuke, a proper response could be, 'yes, he does teach that and I did not say I hate homosexual people...I merely said that I don't believe God's definition of marriage includes two same gendered people.  Why do you accuse me of 'hatred' when I don't hate homosexuals or any other kind of person?'

The real issue is that people in general, and by the millions, are leaving behind any concept of absolute truth being given by a higher being or diety.  And according to this belief, since a God or higher being does not exist, then the only source of truth regarding right or wrong human behavior is we human beings...we make up our own moral standards, and those standards will vary from one culture to the next and even from one person to the next.  Therefore, it is wrong to try and say other people will be held accountable to some higher moral or ethical standard...or stated another way, it is wrong to say some person other than myself will be held to some moral standard of behavior.  This is the 'new belief' of the masses.  And this belief generates many, 'don't judge' or 'you are too judgmental' responses to people who can plainly identify true from false or right from wrong according to some standard.

Finally, any person who holds to the belief that God exists and provided rules or guidelines for human behavior, will ironically be judged as 'deluded' and will be wrongly be judged by a person who does not believe God exists as a judgmental person.  Please see the article on Relativism to better understand why people are becoming more and more irrational.

How do we untangle this mess about "judging"?

The solution is not difficult to understand, but it is difficult to live by. If you will remember and live by these next four principles of Joshua regarding judgment, you will be walking according to the truth in this extremely important matter of "judging".

Why not start making many RIGHT judgments and then come, join the peaceful revolution!

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