So. Very. Much. I’ve. Missed.

I haven’t blogged in so long, I thought WordPress gave this joint the boot. I sincerely don’t know if anybody will see this post. I don’t know if anybody’s even still following this blog. I mean, I think for a while stopped following this blog! Ha.

Anyway, I thought I’d reopen the airwaves to discuss a topic pretty close to me as a Christian. It was motivated by a good friend of mine. Yesterday, my homegirl was the speaker at my church’s annual Youth Day. Of all the great things she pointed out (as a side note, this girl really IS the real deal!), the one that sticks out the most to me is the motivation of this post. If there is one lingering issue Christians like me tend to deal with on a daily basis, it’s the idea of casting judgement on others. After all, as so many people will say “Only God can judge me…” This phrase, I’ve come to realize, is probably one of the most misunderstood and incomplete applications of the Bible I’ve experience in people. The purpose of this post is to call into question that very concept and – as much as possible – backing up my contentions with the Word and not just going from my gut.

First, let’s examine the motivation behind most of our thinking. The notion that Christians should not judge others is directly tied to famous passage in Matthew 7:1: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”  True, if one were to read this verse on its own,  they would be justified in concluding that Jesus prohibits us from judging. But just like most other passages in the Bible (and indeed, all of literature), there is a small matter of context. As it turns out, there is more to that passage than a single line. In order to truly understand that line, we have to examine all the other verses surrounding it.

That, I believe, is where we fall short.

If you read on – all the way up to around verse 5, you get a better sense of what Jesus is saying.  In verse 5, he states, “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”  This passage is key. It points out that Jesus is speaking out against a particular form of judging (hypocritical and self-righteous judging), NOT the practice of judging itself. There is a monumental different between judging hypocritically and judging rightly. If you think about it, how are we supposed to discern right and wrong if we don’t make a – here it comes again – judgement call about a person? Why would Jesus warn us in verse 6 about the “dogs” and “pigs” who could stand in the way if we are not allowed to see them as such? How much sense would that make? How are we able to reach out to a person if we aren’t able to identify – and attempt to correct – their sin in the first place?

As it stands, there are actually quite a few passages in the Bible compelling believers to judge the behaviors of self and others (in passages like Matthew. 7:15-16, John 7:24, and Philippians 3:2 just to name a few. Thank God for a cross-referencing Bible). So to say that we’re not supposed to judge appears to be be patently false according to Word. That being said, the question is not whether or not we can/should judge others. The question is how should we do it. This is where I believe most of us (myself included) miss the mark. My takeaway is simple:

  1. We must be consistent. Calling out one person but not another shows inconsistency. I don’t care HOW close you are to that person.
  2. We have to avoid being hypocritical.
  3. We should approach people with a spirit of humility, rather than a “holier than thou” spirit of superiority.
  4. We should base our judgement solely on facts and be prepared to back it up.
  5. We should only approach others with the expressed goal of being examples of Christ and NOT to show the world how good we are (trust me…we ain’t).

Trust me when I say: this is no easy task. It becomes especially hard when you consider that ALL of us are finite creatures, and we all get tripped up from time to time. But for believers, this is what we’re told to do. So rather than skirting our responsibilities as believers and following the misguided belief that we should withhold judgement, we as Christians need to learn the fine art of doing it correctly. If we stay close to God, I believe it’s possible.

What’s up? Do you agree? Disagree? Holler at me!