By Brent Smith
[Brent Smith is the preaching minister of the Trenton Church of Christ in Trenton, Tennessee.]
“You shouldn’t judge.” Have you been told that? Have you said that to someone else? What is really meant by the judgmental statement, “You shouldn’t judge”? Murder is a sin. Rape is wrong. It is evil for an adult to have sex with a child. You shouldn’t steal. These are all judgmental declarations. Any moral person would agree and wouldn’t hesitate to judge in these matters.
“Don’t judge” sometimes means, “Judge all you want unless I disagree with you.” Marriage is designed by God as a covenant between one man and one woman for life (Matt. 19.1-6). The person who disagrees may respond, “You are judging.” I am, but my critic is judging too. Abortion sheds the innocent blood of an unborn child, and God hates it (Prov. 6.16-17). “You are judging.” I am, but so is the person who objects. The real issue isn’t whether it’s okay to judge, but whose judgment is right.
“You are judgmental” is sometimes a deflection of guilt. A groom on his wedding day agrees with his bride that adultery is a terrible betrayal, the breaking of an oath and a sin against God. That same husband later abandons his wife for another woman and wrecks his home. When confronted by caring Christians he responds, “You are judging me.”
The Bible condemns hypocritical judging (Rom. 2.1-3), hypercritical judging (Matt. 7.1-5), and unrighteous judgments (John 7.24). In truth, our personal judgments are to simply reflect what God has already declared. If God says something is good and right, we are to say the same. If God says something is evil, we are to agree.
“Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I believe Your commandments” (Ps. 119.66).