“But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.”- Romans 14:10 (NKJV)
I hate being judged. I hated it when I was a resident of Secularland and I’ve really come to despise it since coming to faith in Jesus Christ. Who does any person, on this ball of confusion, think they are when they cast their weary eye upon me and voice their disapproval of what I think/read/say/eat/ drink/do/act on/write about/buy/vote for/or even wear for that matter. I mean, ain’t I a swag enough guy, with more than enough theological understanding in the ways of the world, where folks would just take one look at what God has done with me and go, “That guy’s awright”?
However, the entire problem with my little rant here is the underlining issue of me doing the EXACT same thing to others. Apparently, I think myself a swag enough guy, with more than enough theological understanding in the ways of the world, where I can take one look at what God shoulda done in another person and go, “That guy ain’t awright”. What a wretched man I can be (think I just judged myself there?). I am beginning to realize that, as confusing as a subject judgement can be, it is a necessary if I am to continue my study into God’s Word. How can I look in my Bible for instruction in righteousness without going through some sorta honest self-evaluation myself? Right? Anyway…
The ugly that lies in judging others, and is cause for immediate disqualification, is the very fact that we are a sinning people under God’s judgement. We are so dirty a rag, with pasts so full of all kinds of junk, that sometimes the only thing left to say is, “I know somethings that you don’t. I’ve done things that you won’t”. It’s within all this mess that we can’t look at other people fairly and then try to judge them with all fairness of God. To quote John Ritenbaugh (of Berean Call fame), “Our judgment is too subjective to be fair, too influenced by our own experiences to consider all the nuances of another’s life to judge without prejudice. Not until after we have lived a life of overcoming and are rid of this body and mind of flesh will we be in a position to judge the lives of others.” Yeah, so we’re all doomed judges.
“Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?” — James 4:11-12
So, in 1 Corinthians 11:1 the apostle Paul says to, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” Given what we know about Paul in his past, does this imply that we should have murdered followers of “The Way” first before we became one of them? May that not ever be! Instead, Paul means that, if you can discern that he is living within the same code of conduct that Jesus lives by, then do likewise. Don’t imitate Paul, imitate Christ. Jesus never went full metal jacket on anyone anyway and neither should we. After all, The Lawgiver says to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39), if you harshly judge another then you harshly judge the very God that has given you the command to “love your neighbor as yourself.” Not a Godly good idea at all.
There are many things, small, trivial, and the occasional extremely “picky” things that we find in others to judge. The ugly within that is most of the things we wanna judge in others is something we find wrong within ourselves. We just wanna magnify the wrong in others so we don’t feel so wrong in our own wrong (c’mon, ya know I’m right about that). And the chances that we’re judging someone who ain’t in sin, but their personality just rubs us the wrong way, so there ain’t no way on Elohim’s creation that person follows Christ (yeah, you know I’m right about this too). If I hadda judge myself against this statement I would say I’m the chief of all doomed judges out there BUT given who could be reading this right now I could be wrong. Just sayin’ (not judgin’).
As someone who has sat down with many folks whose lives tail spun outta control, the one thing I hadda do was put myself in their shoes and give them a mile or two before I could offer any advice. Listening is a far better idea than judging anyway. There’s no real clear line to pay attention to when we go from offering advice into judgement, sometimes it’s just a reflex we can’t avoid doing. This is why we need our noses in God’s Word so we can discern our responsibilities properly and are righteously equipped to approach our brothers (and sisters) without usurping the Father and the Son’s prerogative as our heavenly Judges. Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris is a child of El Elyon, a son, husband, a father, has an education in Biblical doctrine and is a graduate of The Colony of Mercy. He has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.