By: Justine Johnson
“Hey, don’t judge me.”
It seems as if this phrase is dropped more often than a toddler’s scorned mashed pea bowl. But unlike the contents scattered all over the floor, however, such a defensive statement does indeed produce some food for thought.
That’s one of the top misquoted verses in the Bible. Don’t believe me? Grab a couple of commentaries on the book of Matthew and study chapter seven in its entirety. I’d love to compare notes afterwards. Until then, I want to focus on a command in this passage that I have been mulling over lately. Perhaps it will give you something to consider as well.
My brother Michael and I had a conversation about this topic a few days ago. Michael pointed out that Jesus was talking about His followers’ wrongful judgment of nonbelievers, not their judgment of anyone. “We have no right to judge nonbelievers because we have no accountability with them through the Holy Spirit. If they aren’t following Jesus, then they also aren’t being held to the same moral standards that we are as Christians.”
So what about judging each other? If we all claim to love the same perfect God and view His Word as holy and true, then it makes sense that we would be held to an identical code of behavior. Therefore, wouldn’t that mean that God is commanding us to judge our fellow believers by the fruits of our lives?
As harsh as that statement might seem, I think it is actually a blessing. I don’t know about you, but I would really like to have people calling me out when I am doing anything that does not line up with the Word of God. As long as it is done in love—and that is so crucial. As Michael said, “We are supposed to encourage each other and build each other up. Part of that process is constructive criticism.”
So please judge me. Perhaps I will be a better person someday because of it.