Don't judge me." A statement that is now as much a part of American culture as apple pie and baseball. What was intended by Scripture to be a guideline for followers of Christ to refrain from making harsh and incomplete assessments about someone's character has now changed in definition to basically mean, "You don't have the right to tell me when I'm wrong, no matter what I'm doing."
Do Christians have a right to judge? The answer is ... absolutely. The problem is found in how one actually defines judgment.
Jesus said, "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?" (Matthew 7:1-3) Was Jesus saying that as His follower you never have the right, nor the ability, to gather solid, biblical conclusions? No. That's brainless. In that same passage Jesus was talking about false prophets and said, "So then, you will know them by their fruits." Thus, you'll know to stay away because you can make biblical assessments on who they are by the actions they take. That's judgment in its truest form. So, what was He getting at by warning us about judgment?
Spiritually immature judgment is when you make character assessments about someone based on pure assumption. You don't know the whole story, so you are left to assume the rest of the story; and, every time I've done that in my entire life, I was so far off the mark it was comical! Never assume character based on limited interaction. In effect, we end up "judging" others by relative comparison to our own lives, thus the idea of "the speck in your eye." The "standard of measure" is important here. In other words, it's the same as saying, "Well, my life isn't perfect, but at least I'm not like him." That's immature spirituality and it's judgmental.
Let's flip the page. Perhaps you know a believer that has, over time, demonstrated horrible temperament. Over and over again this person is explosive, yet they carry the name of Christ. So, you approach them and tell them that you see a consistent, toxic trait in their heart and actions. Are you judging them by calling them an angry person? No. They are, in fact, an angry person and ongoing, unresolved anger is not consistent with the spirit of the living God.
The bottom line is that Jesus gave us indicators as to how to make righteous assessments. What is positioned at the heart of this entire matter is motive. Are you lashing out with an assumption about someone, or are you truly concerned and wanting to restore that person to a better walk with God because you see consistent inconsistencies in their walk with the Lord?
Never confuse truth telling with being judgmental.
No matter what the world may tell you, God, nor any of His followers, are bound to culture's definition of truth and righteousness.
www.jasoncruisespeaks.com and www.outdoorministrynetwork.com