The Judgmental Tongue (#20)

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I’m gonna get myself in trouble today.

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged.” Matthew 7:1-2

Judgmental people engage in a critical, fault-finding assessment of another person’s behavior.  If someone’s behavior does not reflect a choice or a decision we would have made, we judge it as wrong.  Judgmental people tend to be dogmatic in stating their views.  They act as if their opinion is the final authority.  They evaluate people’s behavior and place a permanent label on them.  They are – in a word – highly opinionated.

I personally think that evangelical Christians are some of the most judgmental, opinionated people I know.  There I said it.

Now, every day we make practical judgments regarding what we think is right or wrong and what is best for our personal lives.

But we become judgmental when we conclude that other people are wrong, unspiritual, or inferior in some manner because they do not embrace the judgments we would make for ourselves.

We sit up on our moral high horse and declare that everybody else is doing it wrong.  What is up with that?!  Who made you God?

““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?  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?  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.” Matthew 7:3-5

All I have to do is read through my Facebook feed and I can tell you what the HOT topics – with regard to Christians passing judgment – are right now…  Republican or Democratic politicians.  Gay people and marriage issues.  Obese people.  Homeschooling vs. public school.  Dressing modestly, esp. regarding swimwear.  And what kind of food you’re eating (ironic, we’ve come full circle back to new testament issues on that one).

Do you know what the HOT topics were fifty years ago?  Playing cards.  Going to the movies.  Drinking.  Dancing.  Women wearing pants.

Now, I think you SHOULD make decisions, and form your opinions based on what you believe is scripturally correct.  And you should live by those convictions.

But how about giving other people some space to have their own opinion?!  Especially if scripture doesn’t forbid it?

Someone will say – but we are supposed to judge, right?  Well yes, in 1 Corinthians 5:9-12 Paul says that we as a Christian body are called to judge those inside the church who are clearly guilty of wickedness – listed in the passage as immorality, greed, idolatry, drunkenness, and liars/cheats.  In other words, they are clearly breaking a law set out in scripture.  And there are clear instructions for how the church community should approach such an individual – and it involves love, kindness, and restoration if possible.

Can we relax about the gray areas, please?

Let’s work on getting the planks out of our own eyes.

And now, since my kids are in public school, I’m going out for a glass of wine with my Obama-loving friends.  In my two piece swimsuit.  So there.

Relax.  I’m kidding.

Mostly.

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