There are two things that contemporary people (or at least contemporary Americans) love: social media and autonomy. And what is frequently interesting, and sometimes unnerving, is when those two loves are coupled together. Often enough, this coupling is fleshed out (through Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, blogs, etc.) in three words:
Don’t judge me!
These three words are regularly used as the ultimate trump card in any discussion with opposing viewpoints.
Don’t judge me!
Autonomy at its best…
We all want to be the king (or queen) of our own little kingdom, completely sovereign over our affairs with no one to tell us otherwise (and definitely no one to tell us that we might be wrong).
We see Christians telling other Christians to stop being judgmental (to those within and without Christendom); we see non-Christians telling Christians to stop being judgmental (to those within and without Christendom). Frankly, it’s rampant.
But where is this coming from? What is the basis?
Most people, if not all (i.e., those within and without Christendom), look to Matthew 7:1 as the proof-text for affirming anti-judgmentalism (of course, it’s much easier to sledgehammer someone else with this text than it is to apply it to ourselves…).
Judgmentalism is not the same as making judgments. The same Jesus who said “do not judge” in Matthew 7:1calls his opponents dogs and pigs in Matthew 7:6. Paul pronounces an anathema on those who preach a false gospel (Gal. 1:8). Disagreement among professing Christians is not a plague on the church. In fact, it is sometimes necessary. The whole Bible is full of evaluation and encourages the faithful to be discerning and make their own evaluations. What’s tricky is that some fights are stupid, and some judgments are unfair and judgmental. But this must be proven, not assumed…Strong language and forceful arguments are appropriate.
In other words, you can make judgments.
You do make judgments.
In fact, when Jesus tells us to “judge not, that you be not judged,” he follows that with “for with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.” Jesus indicates that you should be cautious when you judge because this same judgment you render will be rendered to you.
Do not be afraid to evaluate.
But remember that when you evaluate, God is going to evaluate you with that same criteria.