Summary: Myth: Christians Shouldn't Judge
Today we are continuing our series entitled "Myths: Exposing the False Beliefs that Bind Us."
We are looking at common ideas that effect how we navigate life.
You may have heard the term "urban legends." Urban legends is a form of such myths. They are ideas that circulate and can end up passing along something that has some element of truth but a whole lot of falsehood. In recent years when I come back across some stories I have used in teaching...I have felt a need to look up their validity. On a couple occasions...I discovered they were mostly urban legends. I'd taken something as true that simply wasn't. I've realized more and more that I need to stop and check to see if something is really true.
Today...we're going to engage one of the most commonly stated myths that effects how we navigate life...
MYTH: Christians Shouldn't Judge
This belief is usually expressed when people feel that someone is either making some judgment upon a particular issue or group...or upon judging them personally.
At which point...one feels the need to defend by saying...
"You shouldn't judge people." or
"You're being judgmental." or
"Don't be so legalistic."
A belief that fits our modern notion of "tolerance"
In many respects the idea that we shouldn't judge anything is sort of a mantra for our times.
In the very recent years the theme that has taken the forefront of values...is that of "tolerance."
For a good reason. Differences tend to divide. Starting just a few decades ago...the generations began to feel a deep divide. Judgments proclaimed that rock music was evil, long hair was bad and people with dark skin were inferior. As the world becomes more global it now faces huge religious and cultural conflicts. With all the differences that divide us, we need to restore true tolerance.
> What we seem to be confused about is what tolerance means. The true meaning of tolerance is that of embracing an appropriate level of basic regard and respect for those we may differ or disagree with. We don’t tolerate someone we agree with….we tolerate someone we don’t agree with.
Fred Baumann, a political science professor at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, says,
"(Some) make the mistake of saying that not making judgments is the same thing as being tolerant. It's not. If you want tolerance, you have to think something is right. And that requires making judgments."[1a]
As a culture we’re losing the great value of true tolerance when the idea is attached the need to approve in order to accept… and to legitimate in order to love. True tolerance has nothing to do with granting moral approval. We need to recognize the distinction between loving people and legitimating behavior.
This new definition of tolerance has become so wide-spread that we want to deride anyone who judges anything... which might seem a bit judgmental.
Into such an idea of tolerance...the very words of Jesus seem to offer the ultimate confirmation. For he himself said, "Do not judge." That seems clear enough.
When someone is making some sort of judgment.... even those who don't follow the Scriptures will cite it in a lose way. It may be the most popular verse in the whole Bible for our cultural times.
If Jesus said we shouldn't judge anything...that we should accept everything as equally good and right...then we have finally found our way.
So lets hear what Jesus said in...
Matthew 7:1-6,12 (NIV)
1 "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3 "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 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. 6 "Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.
12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
The very launch into these words may seem simple enough... "Do not judge..." We can stop right there. Jesus didn’t say, “Do not judge,” followed by a period or an exclamation point. He said, “Do not judge,” followed by a clarification of what type of judgments to make, when to make them, and how to make them.