Total Pageviews

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Judge not or speak not?

If I had to pick the most quoted Bible verse or phrase, it would have to be, 'Judge not...'

Most of the time, in my humble opinion, the verse is quoted out of context. Folks in our world today don't want to hear that something they are doing, or saying, or wearing, or watching, or thinking, or believing is wrong.

Can't we just all get along?

The ethos of that sentiment is summed up in the famous (and often quoted) song lyrics, 'If loving you is wrong, I don't wanna be right.'

We don't want other people telling us what to do. You're not the boss of me!

Okay...I get it.

However, just consider this for a moment:

There are over six billion people on this planet; leaving out terrible things like murder, rape and the like, it's mathematically reasonable to assume that with so many people, someone somewhere is going to say or do something that you don't like. The first time it happens, you ignore it; the second time, you shrug it off; the third time, your eyebrows dip together and your lips purse but you bite your tongue. Finally, after some number of times when one or more people do or say something that just continues to get under your skin, you burst.

"Excuse me sir, the sign clearly says ten items or less. What part of ten or less don't you understand?"

I'm sorry, but isn't that a tad judgmental? I mean, it may be that the person overwhelming the express lane with eighteen items has an invalid parent at home and only has a finite time to shop and return home?

Are you really in that big of a hurry (or borderline OCD) that you can't let one person go with a few extra items?

What are the most popular shows on television? People judging other people. What does that mean? Is it OK for some people to judge me because they have some nebulous level of gravitas that grants them the right to pass judgement?

I don't watch reality shows much but occasionally I'll catch a segment. I heard someone on one of them, I can't remember which, answer the judge, 'That's your opinion,' after the judge had pronounced them horrible.

I can imagine the judge thinking at that moment, 'Yes, and I get paid a lot of money to give it to you.'

The fact is, in my opinion - and likely millions of others - this person could not sing a lick. Yet throughout their lives, people around them had not judged them; had not told them that they couldn't sing.

If you attend church long enough, especially in the south, someone is going to ask you about joining the choir. The Bible does tell us that we are to make a joyful noise to the LORD, but there are those of us - me included - who need to do that as quietly as possible and certainly not on stage in front of others.

So, we can assume, this particular contestant had been told throughout her life that the joyful noise she was making was good. And then at some point, at least one person told her it was so good, she needed to get on this reality show. And somehow she made it past the auditions and into the first round, after which the well paid judges said, 'No, not really.'

So who is guilty here?

Is the contestant guilty because she believed that she could sing? Honestly, there are times when I sing along with the radio or CD player in the car and think, 'Hey, I sounded pretty good there.'

But there are MILES between hitting a note here or there, briefly, accidentally, catching that harmony in the car like a lightning bug in a jar, and singing a Capella on stage in front of three scowling judges just waiting to pick you apart.

Personally, I blame the family and friends. These are the people who would have sat around listening to the budding contestant singing and said, "Hey, that's good."

These same folks would have heard this young lady say, 'I'm thinking of going on such and such show.' and said, "Seriously, I think you should."

Anyone remember this guy?

Maybe the friends were thinking, 'Hey, she could be the next William Hung!'

More likely, they were infected with don't judge disease.

Self esteem has become the coin of the realm these days and if you take someone's self esteem, it's off to the stocks with you!

Punished for his attire no doubt...

Heaven forbid we be the one to let the cat out of the bag:

No, you sing like a cat locked in a burlap sack.

Yes; don't wear pants like that...ever.

If you want to look like Billy Ray Cyrus when he was twenty, go for it!

Are we judging? No, not really, we're just speaking - offering our opinions. And along with everything else there is a time and a place for that.

The Bible says we are to speak the truth in love. Which is likely one of the most difficult things the Bible asks us to do, right up there next to love your neighbor as yourself.

So seriously, the next time I mention that you shouldn't do something, wear something, go somewhere, be with someone, watch something, listen to a particular song or whatever, I'm not judging you...

I am just speaking the truth in love.

'The Truth shall set you free.'

What do you think?



  1. I think you're right, but, then again, I'll be the first one to tell someone (like a family member) that they really don't need to go out in public looking like that unless they want to be on People of Wal-Mart!

    I personally think it's fine to tell someone that they can't sing so they don't get the idea that signing up for a talent show is a worthwhile venture if it is done so in a non-judgmental way.

    "Hey, you sing like a hound dog treeing a coon," is judgmental. Telling that same someone who sings like a hound dog treeing a coon that they might want to solicit other honest opinions because, "I really don't think you're the type of singer they're looking for," ought to be just fine without violating Matthew 7:1 & 2.

    Still, option A can be a bit more fun than option B since we're all sinners (Romans 3:23)! ;^)

  2. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment! In a sense, this was an attempt to open the subject of what constitutes being judgmental. If I tell someone, 'You shouldn't get tattoos, people will think you're a junkie,' then that's probably being judgmental. But if I tell someone, 'You really should think twice about getting so many tattoos because, right or wrong, it's going to impact your career progression,' then I'm sharing an opinion based on my experience and the realities of the world we live in. The person may not agree, and they may be in a career where it's not an issue, and maybe I shouldn't say anything at all but if I'm saying it because I care about the person, hopefully that will come through.

    It's extremely difficult for me to understand the leap of logic that brands the CEO of Chick-fil-A as intolerant when all he has done is share his beliefs. He hasn't called anyone out, he hasn't denigrated anyone, he's just said, 'Personally, I believe in the biblical view of marriage.'

    It's everyone else that has gone to judging and such.

    I expressed my opinion regarding this on another venue the other day. As a Christian, I believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman, for better or for worse. As an American, I cannot force that belief on everyone. I used to think that we need to legislate marriage but that's ridiculous. Our country's founders came here (in large part) to escape being told that they could not worship God in the way they wanted to. But those very same folks crafted our government's foundation to prevent that sort of dictatorial governance from taking place here.

    Should churches be forced to marry same-gender couples? Absolutely not. If a particular church believes same-gender marriages are okay, then that's fine for them, but there are also plenty of other places to get married in this country.

    Bottom line is, my beliefs are based on what I know of the Bible. I also believe that it is possible for me to hold to my beliefs yet still love people who don't share them. In life, we will always disagree with each other; we will always have conflict; but the fact that I hold to a particular worldview should not prevent me from treating everyone with respect and love.

    If we lived in the United Christian States of America, it would be different. But we don't, so it's liberty and justice for all - not just the ones we agree with.

  3. Satan: “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”

    Eve: “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’”

    Satan: “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

    Eve: Yumm...

    I personally think that original sin was nothing more than pure selfishness. Eve and Adam wanted more. They weren't happy with the way things were so they went for broke and we're still doing it today. Clearly this is a strong motivator for mankind and ever shall be.

    Give me a second, I'll get there.

    I have a daughter who professes to be bisexual and prefers to be with a woman. When I asked her if she always felt that way she said she didn't until she was wronged by a member of the opposite sex and that was when she decided to become a switch hitter.

    Do I love her? Yes.
    Do I agree with her lifestyle choice? No.
    Does she read her bible? No (her admission).

    What can I do? Pray.

    I did tell her that I simply cannot condone her lifestyle based on my Christian faith and belief that every word in the Bible is the infallible word of God but I followed that statement by reminding her that I still love her and pray for her.

    She did pull the judgment card out and tried to play it on me but was really shocked when it didn't work on me like it did on others. I explained to her that my take on Matthew 7:1 is that we are warned that condemning others for their faults is failure to exercise forgiveness and that my view on her choice was a gentle and humble criticism that first recognizes my own greater faults (Got that from my Reformation Study Bible). An observation based on my love for her and a prayer that God will change her heart.

    Yes, too many people pull that judgment card without ever first hiring a crane operator to remove the telephone pole from their own eye in an effort to justify their own bad behavior! Okay...that might have been a wee judgmental.

    United Christian States of America...I'd live there.

  4. Thanks for sharing this Anon; I really appreciate it! I know that there are knucklehead Christians out there (how's that for slinging some judgement?) who have crafted their own version of what faith needs to look like and frankly, there's not a lot of love involved for those who live outside the confines of their definition of Grace.

    I could write a blog every day for the foreseeable future opining on what I think is wrong with the world. At the end of the day, all I can control is me. Just like with Eve and Adam, acceptance of Grace is a personal decision that must be made by each one of us individually.

    Yeah, I've had the kids pull out the old judgment card on me for a variety of things for which I shared my opinion. Great lead-in to discussions on belief, faith, etc. and also a great mirror for me to examine how I approaching certain things, and maybe showing me I needed to change up a little.

    I like this commenting thing...keep it coming folks!


Thanks for visiting the Stream. What do you think?