Don’t Judge…Well, OK, I Guess You Have To!
One of the most quoted Bible verses in contemporary society is Matthew 7:1 “Judge not, that you be not judged.” This verse and these words are all over TV and the internet; often when “hot button” issues like homosexuality and abortion are the topics of discussion. Is Jesus teaching here that we should never judge? That is what some seem to think and they are more than happy to tell you that you should not judge them or their behavior. But does this make sense?
In fact, aren’t those who are saying that they shouldn’t be judged actually making a judgment? I think so. It is absolutely impossible to live a single day without making a judgment. In the Greek language of the New Testament, the word most often translated “judge” is the word that also means to “select” or “choose”. Can you go through a single day without making a choice? No. Even if you stay in bed all day and speak or see no one you have still made a choice to stay in bed. You’ve judged that to be in your best interest and pretty much throughout the day you have continued to “judge” that staying in bed is what you should do with your day.
It is absolutely impossible not to judge. When you order something from the menu you “judge” the value and interest to you of various menu items. When you purchase anything you are making a judgment. In terms of people, you are constantly making judgments and you certainly don’t want to lose this ability. For example, if we couldn’t judge people we would have to empty all of the prisons. After all, every inmate is in prison because someone “judged” that their behavior warranted incarceration.
Next time someone throws out the phrase, “Judge not, that you be not judged”, take the time to ask them if they really mean it. Tune in this week as we look in more detail at this very important topic.