“DON’T JUDGE ME!”
We have all heard it. Chances are that we have probably said it. The problem is that we don’t understand it, and, yes, I’m aware that that is a judgment.
Let’s consider, when is this phrase typically utilized? Usually, we will instruct others to refrain from judgment when we are putting a less than common or popular idea, statement, or action out for all to see. We believe that our courage for being transparent should be rewarded with acceptance. Granted, there are situations when the phrase is used sarcastically or lighthearted while in the company of friends, but is it possible that culture has arrived at a place where any level of judgment or criticism is offensive?
I would contend that the bigger issue is that we simply don’t understand what judgment is or how it is to be dealt with on both sides, executing and receiving.
Judgment, first of all, is merely a declaration of opinion or a conclusion based on observed evidence. Our society is focused on everyone having a voice, yet, at the same time, we are quick to choose whose voice is valuable. To deny someone their “right” to judge is denying their “right” to have an opinion. (I put the word right in quotes because even that term is often misused. Rights are those things that are morally or legally proper to have. My use could only be argued as a moral right.)
To execute judgment, one must be in a place of experience, knowledge, or expertise. To offer judgment in an unknown area is unwise and can have harmful consequences. Yes, there are plenty of instances where people attempt to offer their two cents where it is unwanted or illegitimate; however, the response to that judgment should be as inconsequential as the judgment itself. In other words, if the judgment is not worth two cents, treat it that way. It is far easier to move on than to argue.
To receive judgment, we must acquire something that is extremely difficult to come by, humility. Pride tells us that we can do no wrong. Humility reminds us that we always have room to grow. If there is credibility to a statement of judgment, we ought to be thankful for the opportunity to learn. If not, again, move on.
On another note, the argument cannot be made that the Bible tells us not to judge. That is typically a misquote of Matthew 7. The point Christ was making was not that we should abstain from judging others but rather, before that judgment is made, to ensure that you have taken the time to examine yourself first because that judgment will also be the standard others can hold you to. That does not mean to refuse to tell your brother about the sliver in his eye. It simply means to take care of your beam first before going to your brother.
All this to say, “Please, judge!” Part of being a growing civilization is discerning better ways of doing things. If no one is ever wrong, growth stalls out. Part of being a Christian is helping others in their walk with God, while simultaneously taking serious self-examination. Judgment does not need to be condescending but should come from a place of concern and desire for growth. As Paul says in Ephesians 4, we need to speak the “truth in love” that we “may grow up into [Christ] in all things”. Of course, all this is to be done for His honor and glory.
Allow me to encourage you to judge only as you faithfully…
Walk in Him.