“Only God can judge me!” declares the photo caption.
“Wow, way to judge!” proclaims the comment stream.
“You are just being way too judgmental and critical. Nobody’s perfect! You’re such a hypocrite. Stop judging, get off your butt, and get a life!”
Today, let’s talk about judgment. Comments like those above, though hypocritical in and of themselves, seem to be calling for a judgment-free world. And though the commenters make a judgment in order to call someone judgmental, they seem not to see it and continue on their aggressive campaign towards a passive Utopia in which judgment is no more.
But come on, does he really mean that? Does this commenter really want a judgement-free society?!
After all, where would this society be without some good use of judgment? What if I didn’t judge how fast a car is going into the intersection, and instead I just went for it – hoping that my lack of judgment would be so unoffending to the other driver that it just didn’t hit me?
What if we didn’t judge people by their knowledge of road laws and driving procedures, and we just gave anyone who wanted it a driver’s license?
What if I didn’t judge whether a young child was old enough to walk by himself home from school through a neighborhood that may or may not (I can’t judge) be unsafe? Would my open-mindedness be enough to protect him from getting robbed, kidnapped, or lost?
Would you like a doctor who didn’t judge your suitability for a drug or procedure?
Would you like a friend who didn’t judge whether you were sober enough to drive home?
Would you like a school that didn’t judge whether you grasped the lessons, and just passed you forward no matter what?
The point is this: yes, only God can judge your soul. But I am more than capable of – and should be encouraged to – judge your actions, shirt, driving ability, creditworthiness, sobriety, and whatever else you expose to the world. Would you really prefer a society where no one engages in any critical thinking? Is that better for you? How would you even know – you can’t judge!
To judge means “to form an opinion or conclusion about.” It isn’t always right, and it can change when more evidence presents itself. Having a judgmental society can be a very good thing. It means we’re talking. It means we’re connected. It means that we have seen or learned something, synthesized it, analyzed it, and produced an opinion or conclusion about it. It means that we have brains, and we’re using them. Plus, if we didn’t judge, then compliments wouldn’t mean anything; how meaningful it is to have a blind person comment on the unique color of your hair?
Lack of judgment can lead to car accidents, drug overdoses, bankruptcy, middle-school dropouts, arrests, and all kinds of other things that we don’t bring up at family reunions. It’s not a judgement-free world, thankfully. Judgments come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. They can be nice or they can be rude, but the mere fact that you are judging someone or something is not a bad thing. How you do it is another story: respect, humility, and compassion are just as important.
As for your soul – after this world – that is the only thing the Facebook stalkers can’t touch. God can and already has judged your soul. It’s actually really simple: you are a loser; a sinner; a broken, spoiled child who doesn’t even know what you threw away. And you’ve been sentenced to death because of it.
But that’s not the end: God is also merciful and loving. He sent his Son, who was also God, and He died in your place so that you can be made new. You can be fresh, clean, and holy – if only you accept this free gift of Salvation. Just say the word.
And that’s why we can judge each other’s actions, to help each other see right from wrong and pick each other up when we’ve wandered far from home. But we also have to treat each other with kindness and respect, because we have value and dignity as God’s children. And we’ll all be judged by God in the end. So don’t forget that.