Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Word Judgmental

I have been thinking about this blog entry for quite some time...writing it in my head...thinking about how to word it and even looking online to see what others have said about it. I do not want to ramble, and I hope it explains what I've been thinking and how I perceive this. Mostly, I hope you'll gain a better understanding of this concept and I would love your feedback.

I often hear (or read) people say, "I'm not trying to be judgmental, but..." or even recently someone questioned me on something and they said, "No judgment from me..." and I just have to smile.

You see, if it's trivial things like if a child should use a binky vs. suck their thumb...or if it's something like buying a new car, those things don't really matter.

But when it's something that is contrary to God's word. And when a person has studied His word and feels discernment on a subject, I strongly believe that we as Christians CAN say that something is right or wrong. Even though some like to throw out the "You're being judgmental" card, the fact of the matter is, we are most certainly to hold one another accountable to live according to His word.

Ezekiel 3 speaks to this issue. We are accountable to discern right from wrong and help others realize it as well. The other extreme (when we are, in fact, passing judgment) is to actually condemn them to Hell for doing wrong, which we are told not to do because only God knows what caused them to do it. The parts of Ezekiel 3 are copied below:

18
If I say to the wicked man, You shall surely die; and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his wicked conduct so that he may live: that wicked man shall die for his sin, but I will hold you responsible for his death.
19
If, on the other hand, you have warned the wicked man, yet he has not turned away from his evil nor from his wicked conduct, then he shall die for his sin, but you shall save your life.
20
If a virtuous man turns away from virtue and does wrong when I place a stumbling block before him, he shall die. He shall die for his sin, and his virtuous deeds shall not be remembered; but I will hold you responsible for his death if you did not warn him.
21
When, on the other hand, you have warned a virtuous man not to sin, and he has in fact not sinned, he shall surely live because of the warning, and you shall save your own life.

I highlighted the word warn in that passage. I had actually never studied these verses until I started thinking about how to put together this blog post. I'm so glad God led me to it. It's sometimes very difficult to go to someone in Christian love and "warn" them that they are doing something wrong. Why is that? Because we fear that we will be perceived as judgmental? This scripture tells me that I AM SUPPOSED TO WARN those who are not living a virtuous life.

But what gives me the authority to do so? I'm not perfect!

No, of course none of us are perfect! I am a flawed, sinful creature. But I know that by studying the Word and having the scriptures in my heart I can discern between what is pleasing to Him and what is not.

Does this make sense?

It is hard for me (sometimes) to try and explain to someone that they are not living according to scripture. I am thankful for times when I've had a friend who has been bold enough to tell me when I'm out of line! It's hard to hear, but it's necessary. Very necessary.

Let's get over the idea of being judgmental. I think it's a misconception that can keep us from helping others see what God truly wants from us and for us.

1 comment:

Mrs. Haid said...

I think having another Christian come along and offer me constructive criticism in order to live a better life for Christ is a good thing.

Sometimes being judgemental is helpful. EX:

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. (Prov 27:5)

and
As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. (Proverbs 27:17)


And, our world view as Christians is black and white in many instances. One can be judgemental because there is often a clear right and wrong according to the scriptures.

But... speaking the truth in love is important. Being judged by others in a cruel or gossipy way isn't a pleasant experience!

I think you are right, Chrissy... many people do tiptoe around an issue for fear of upsetting another person, but really could do to share their thoughts.

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