I Hope Somebody Judges!

This morning on my Facebook page, I left a little note concerning a Hollywood celebrity who has been in and out of rehab, in and out of trouble with film studios and production companies, and in and out of favor with the public. He has just taken himself out of rehab and vows he does not need their intervention.

The quote that got me was his saying, “I’m going to quit pretending I’m not special.” I posted that and added, “Can you say delusional?”

The comments from Facebook friends multiplied rapidly. And what got me were the ones accusing me (and friends who indicated their concern for this fellow) of judgmentalism. One even accused us of “hating him.” Of course, that writer was mighty quick to condemn us for hating.

The irony of that is so stark as to not require a comment.

Once again, we hear supposedly right-thinking Christian people warning us against judging. And they all quote the same verse, Matthew 7:1, where our Lord said, “Judge not, lest you be judged.”

One wonders if such people really and truly mean that, that we should not make judgements at all concerning the behavior of other people.

You’re looking for a babysitter? Fine. Just accept the first person who walks in and applies. After all, you do not want to be guilty of judging.

Looking for an auditor for your company? As soon as she gets out of prison for embezzlement, I know a former church secretary who might apply for the job.

Looking for a pastor for your church? Will you take the first handsome dude with a seminary degree who shows up in a three-piece suit? Or will you look into his background and exercise some discretion here?

Oh, no. You don’t want to judge.

We just had a costly and lengthy trial in New Orleans. A woman who spent 15 years on the city council and in the state legislature was accused of pulling in millions of dollars for sham charities run by her boyfriend, the brother of our then-congressman. Year after year, she filled out requests for large bequests for this cause and that cause, even though all the money went to line the pockets of her boyfriend and his family. She herself benefited indirectly.

“I didn’t have any idea what he was doing,” was her defense. Even though the boyfriend’s family members have pleaded guilty and turned states-evidence against her, she kept on insisting she was duped by it all.

And one juror bought it. Eleven voted to convict the woman, but one lone juror stubbornly held out, turning the case into a mistrial.

You have to wonder about some people.

“Who are we to judge?” we hear them say. “We’re all sinners.”

Answer: We absolutely must judge. If mature right-thinking citizens do not make judgements, if we do not use our discernment, if we ignore the evidence and continue electing the crooks and hiring the criminals and supporting thieves, we may as well hang it up and erect a “Madhouse” sign over the universe.

As untold numbers of professors and pastors have pointed out–and will continue doing so, apparently, until this world ignites–the clear meaning of Matthew 7:1 is, “Do not condemn.”

In his comments on Matthew 7:1, John MacArthur writes, “As the context reveals, this does not prohibit all types of judging (v. 16). There is a righteous kind of judgment we are supposed to exercise with careful discernment (John 7:24). Censorious, hypocritical, self-righteous, or other kinds of unfair judgments are forbidden; but in order to fulfill the commandments that follow, it is necessary to discern dogs and swine (v. 6) from one’s own brethren (vv.3-5).”

I do not condemn the celebrity who has taken himself out of rehab and is now embarking on a campaign of public self-justification. I recognize, however, that what he is doing is unwise and an indication of an unhealthy, even sinful, state of mind.

On Facebook, I called him delusional.

That does not mean I condemn the fellow.

A number of Facebook friends have weighed in to say we should pray for the man. No argument there. I have prayed for him and will continue to do so.

But I’ll not be watching his television programs. If he were peddling anything, I would not be buying from him. He has proven himself untrustworthy.

In saying so, I am using the discernment–the understanding, the ability to see clearly and come to a reasoned conclusion–any mature human should possess.

God said to Jeremiah, If you will take out the precious from the vile, you shall be as my mouth. (Jer. 15:19)

That speaks to judging, discerning.

Another translation makes this even clearer: When thou hast learned to separate worth from dross, thou shall be my true spokesman. (Knox)

We make this kind of judgment every day of our lives.

In a program on South Africa’s diamond mining operations, Joan Lunden said the workers will pull out of the ground enough dirt to fill the Empire State Building in order to come up with a diamond the size of one’s little finger nail. Lots of dross, little of worth.

There are diamonds of other kinds in our world. Unfortunately, they are amid a great deal of dirt. One has to separate the good from the bad.

What shall we watch on television this evening? We will attempt to separate the profitable from the worthless.

What reading material shall we choose from the public library? It carries great works of literature and others that, while not works of art, are still worth reading. But libraries also carry books detrimental to one’s welfare and to society.

What shall I do with my life? In the metropolitan area where I live, it’s possible to take a job serving liquor, manning crap tables, and peddling porno literature and videos. However, one can also find work in hospitals and schools, in police and fire departments, in churches and a hundred other positive types of establishments. In deciding how to spend his life, one is forced to make judgments.

For those who follow Christ, the ruling guide in these matters is clear. Whatever you do, do as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance, for you serve the Lord Christ. (Colossians 3:23-24)

The Christian’s constant prayer is: “Lord, what would you have me to do?” (Acts 22:10)

7 thoughts on “I Hope Somebody Judges!

  1. Joe, it amazes me that the folks who quote “judge not that ye be not judged” don’t read the rest of the passage. One of the clear instructions of the Lord is get the log out of your own eye and THEN you will see clearly how to get the twig out of the other person’s eye. Clearly there is something wrong with the other person! Something the Lord wants us to see clearly and to help him with. Great article–thank you.

  2. There is so much I could say about this, but I’ll limit it to one comment. I’ve never said it, but one thought that goes through my mind when people take this verse taken out of context (like you’ve pointed out) because of a decision I

  3. Rusty, I just point out the things Joe used in his article. I ask the folks if they make a judgement about how their hair was cut and if they went back to the same person when they judged it to be very poorly done. I ask if they go back to the same mechanic even though he has proven that he is a crook or totally without knowledge of cars. I ask if they use the same roofer, carpenter, plumber, or electrician every time or if they made a judgment about whoever they used and changed when it became obvious that the person didn’t know what he/she was doing? You can see the light come on in the faces of those who have used that passage wrongly.

  4. Joe: I recently posted a link to a video commenting on Islam and the plans Muslims have for us “infidels.” I posted it without much comment. I received some “schooling” from an old high school friend and the son of my best friend since childhood. We’ve gone mad if we don’t try to judge who wants to kill us…and stop them. Sooner is better.

  5. Dear Doctor Joe,

    Jesus called us to “Love Each Other”, not “Judge Each Other”. Of course, we have to look to the Holy Ghost for discernment in this matter, so we are not unjustly abused.

    Judgement should be left to the “Righteous Judge” – Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

    As one looks to Jesus for answers in how to deal with judgement, he realizes that Jesus delighted in truth and justice. Yet, He was slow to expose and overlooked the faults in others. There was no limit to His endurance, no end to His willingness to trust, and no fading of His hope.

    Again, we are called to love and discern. Only Jesus is qualified to “Judge.”

    In Jesus’ Name,

    Paul A. Crass, Cumberland, Maryland

  6. Bro. Joe, I’m behind on my reading email and just pulled this up. We are studying in MasterWorks The Paradox of Truth and Grace. I’m printing this to show an example – opposite reactions to the truth you spoke.

    Several in our church are going to Greenwood the 15th to be in on the Seniors Rally.

    God bless you,

    Lara Johnson

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