To most of us judging is un-Christian. The root of this misconception seems to be based on Jesus' statement in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). Jesus said, "Judge not, that ye be not judged" (Matt 7:1). The problem lies in the fact that "judge not" is not an absolute! Jesus did not end "Judge not" with a period. The context and common sense makes it clear as to why Christians are to be careful lest they become judgmental.

 A friend once had a habit of starting to state an incident by stating, "Now I know I am not supposed to judge . . ." He would then proceed with a narrative of some negative incident. The truth is that we can and do make numerous judgments, both good and bad, every day. It is true that words like judge, criticize, etc. carry a negative connotation. Yet a decision or judgment about a person or thing can be either good or bad. Still we consider judging a person as condemning him, although it is not inherent in the word itself. In other words, we can, and often do, judge a person to be "a fine fellow," rather than a rascal. Being critical can include virtues as well as faults but it is generally used to list shortcomings.

 In 1 Corinthians 10, the apostle Paul is discussing partaking of the table of idols and the Lord's Table (Communion) by Christians. In verse 15 he says, I speak as to wise men; "judge ye what I say." Thus, we are to make (wise) judgments about what the Scriptures say. In a similar vein, we make decisions about people, events, and things in our everyday life. There is no condemnation in doing so.

The problem is that the worldly, ungodly, and unrighteous are adamant about Christians judging them as being worldly, ungodly, and unrighteous. When the godly and righteous are shocked by contemporary homosexualism, permissive sexual behavior, and/or nudity they are considered prudes. Jesus, in the same sermon (Matthew 7:15-20), warned against false prophets. In doing so he pointed out, "by their fruits ye shall know them" (verses 15, 20). We are thus required to make a judgment on the basis of their fruits. As one preacher (Marshall Keeble) said, "I know Iz not to judge, but de Lord tells me Iz to be a fruit inspector."

 When our core beliefs are offended and held up to ridicule, Christians are expected to be tolerant - after all this is the twenty first century. The righteousness of God is revealed in the Gospel, or New Testament (Romans 1:16-18). God expects His children to make decisions or judgments about sin based on the Bible. In God's world there is still good and bad, and right and wrong. Making our judgments about things moral will indeed determine where we will spend eternity. Let us choose the strait gate and narrow way the leads to life (Matthew 7:13-14).


Dale I. Royal, Elk City