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Yesterday, 5:20 pmDo you ever find yourself Judgemental ??.
Why are Christians So Judgmental? Doesn't the Bible Say, "Do Not Judge"
by Rich Deem
In the Sermon on the Mount of Olives, Jesus preached that people should not judge others. In addition, in His handling of the woman caught in adultery, He said, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." So, why are Christians always passing judgment on other people?
"Do not judge so that you will not be judged."1 This command was given by Jesus Christ as He was preaching to the crowds on the Mount of Olives. This and similar verses are often cited as proof that Christians should not go around condemning others about their behavior. Is this what Jesus meant when He gave this command? Why does it seem that Christians are always judging others?
What is being judgmental?
To begin the discussion, it would be good to know what the word "judgmental" really means. Here is the definition from the The American Heritage Dictionary2:
- Of, relating to, or dependent on judgment
- Inclined to make judgments, especially moral or personal ones
So, the word "judgmental" refers to making a judgment, especially about somebody's moral or personal behavior. People tend to get upset about others who impugn their own personal behavior. Did Jesus tell us not to do that? What about making general (non-personal) statements about what is right or wrong?
What did Jesus say about judging others?
In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus actually had a lot more to say about judging others than just one sentence. Here is the verse in context of the other things Jesus said about judging others:
"Do not judge so that you will not be judged. "For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. "Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? "Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the log is in your own eye? "You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye. (Matthew 7:1-5)
What is clear from the context is that Jesus was talking about people making personal judgments against others, when their own behavior was much more seriously compromised than the persons they were judging. Even when taken in context, the object of Jesus' statements is not readily evident in this sermon. However, in other preaching, Jesus made it clear that He especially had a problem with the hypocrisy of the Jewish religious leaders of His time. In other confrontations with them, Jesus made some pretty strong statements against those leaders:
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness..." (Matthew 23:25-28)
There are many other verses that indicate that Jesus was more unhappy about the behavior of hypocrites than just about anything else He encountered.3 So, His warning against judging others was primarily aimed at those who thought they were superior to others. In other words, get your own house in order before you criticize others.
Let him [without sin] first cast a stone
One of the most often cited verses in which Jesus supposedly tells people not to judge each other is the one in which a woman was caught in adultery. Since it is good to read the story in context, it is reproduced in its entirety here:
Early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, they said to Him, "Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?" They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. Straightening up, Jesus said to her, "Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?" She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said, "I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more." (John 8:1-11)
The first thing you should notice is that it was the scribes and Pharisees who brought the woman to Jesus. Obviously, from Jesus' description of their lifestyle (above), it would seem likely that they were up to no good. There are some major problems with their story. Although they supposedly cite the law of Moses, they didn't get it quite right. In fact, the law says that both the man and the woman are to be executed.4 So, it would seem that they "forgot" to bring the man. Since she was caught "in the very act," it seems likely that the man was probably one of them. Jesus handled the situation by writing in the dirt. Although the text does not say what He wrote, it is likely that He was writing down the sins of those who wanted to stone the woman. The ones who had lived the longest (and accumulated the most sins) left first. Did Jesus excuse the woman's sin? No! In fact, He told her not to do it again. Instead of being an example of the "non-judgmental" Jesus, it is yet another story of the hypocrisy of the scribes and Pharisees. In addition, since Jesus had told her not to sin again, He would be accused of being "judgmental" by many people of our time.
Jesus was "judgmental"
If Jesus wanted people to not be "judgmental" or judge other people's sin, He certainly did not take His own advice. In fact, Jesus often told people how to behave and specifically told them not to sin.5 If Jesus really did not want people to be judgmental, why was He that way Himself?
To judge or not to judge: that is the question
So, what did Jesus mean when He said not to judge others, if He Himself was telling people how to conduct their lives? There are other sayings of Jesus that clarify what Jesus objected to when people judged each other:
"Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment." (John 7:24)
So, it would seem that Jesus' major concern is that people do not make snap judgments from what they guess might have happened. Many people (both Christians and non-Christians) tend to fall into this kind of judgment problem, if they are not careful to check the facts carefully. For example, one should not judge a person based upon the group to which he belongs. Not all Muslims are terrorists. Not all Christians are hypocrites. Not all atheists practice rampant immorality. Notice that the verse does not tell us not to judge at all, but to judge according to righteousness. If we cannot verify the truth about an accusation, we should keep our mouths shut. For this reason, you will not find any personal judgments about others on this website. This does not mean that we will not dispute the facts or opinions expressed by certain individuals. However, such critiques are not personal attacks, but are usually related to a defense of the Christian faith.
Judging right and wrong
I have received a few complaints that godandscience.org is judgmental. As stated previously, the site judges no other person's particular morals. So, people who make the claim that Christians are judgmental are really referring to Christians' judgment between right and wrong. However, every person (with the possible exception of those who are judged to be criminally insane) on earth makes judgments between right and wrong, in order to make decisions about how to live one's life. Of course, the reasons why people say that Christians are judgmental is because they disagree with the moral judgments we make. They, however, are not making any kind of judgment in claiming we are!
Why do Christians make moral judgments? The Bible commands people of faith (both Christians and Jews) to make moral judgments. The Old Testament tells us to warn those who practice wicked things to turn from their evil ways.6 Jesus asked people why they would not judge what was the right thing to do,7 and instructed believers to admonish those brothers who practice sin.8 Paul reprimanded the Church at Corinth for not judging sin within their assembly.9 In fact, the Church is directed to condemn and remove sin from among its ranks first and foremost.10 The news media loves to point out sin committed by famous pastors and other hypocritical Christians. However, we are admonished that we need not judge individuals outside the church, since they be judged by God.11
Our nation judges the morality of behaviors
Although many people say that they don't think that others should make moral judgments, they soon change their mind when somebody does something immoral against them. Our nation's constitution (United States of America) is based upon three branches of government, one of which is assigned to judge the morality of behaviors. The judicial branch of the United States government decides the morality of the actions of its citizens and punishes those who break those moral laws. Murder, assault, rape, fraud, theft, and numerous other behaviors are judged as being immoral. The idea that "you cannot legislate morality" is clearly false, since our legislative branches of government can and do make laws against a host of behaviors that have been declared as unacceptable. In fact, in the state of California, not only do we make laws against moral behaviors, but we make laws to force businesses to train people not to commit certain immoral behaviors.12
Christians are often the ones to be judgmental. However, what most people consider to be judgmental is merely telling others what the Bible says are unacceptable behaviors. Christians tell others what the Bible says about behavior because we are commanded to do so, so that others may lead morally acceptable lives. However, we are specifically commanded not to judge the behavior of individuals for whom we do not have absolute certainty of the truth regarding their actions. The Christian Church is to remove sin from within its own ranks first and foremost before condemning the actions of outsiders.
Now, it's sad when someone condems another JUST because of his beliefs or teachings . Their is no superiority among people who think differently, only condemnation of others to make themselves feel better. They are the one's to pity...