an acquaintance and i got into a small disagreement, and she said the words that all christians dread hearing: 'let he who is without sin cast the first stone'. argh! that is so frustrating to be in a debate and have a person throw this up! because unless you want to be seen as a hypocrite, you must immediately back off and concede any point you were trying to make. i hate that! (especially when i'm right. lol.)
just having a strong opinion is enough to be called 'judgemental', no matter what the opinion is about. i hate that too! we are not called to bend with the wind and find everything permissible. plus, i found it really ironic that she was 'judging' me for being 'judgemental' (though, of course, that didn't bother her).
i admit that i do occasionally need the reminder to not judge a person's actions, or i access someone too harshly, or question if they are 'really' following Christ. i am loud. i am opinionated. and i sometime talk without thinking. sometimes, my opinions can get the best of me because i have such a strong sense of justice, and i'm not so much about mercy (thank you, God, that you are perfect in dispensing both justice and mercy to us). however, this was not one of those times when i needed to examine myself. so how could i go on trying to make a point without seeming 'judgemental' and a hypocrite? (i still don't know.) but really, is judgement such a bad thing?
the complicated answer is... yes and no (yeah, you knew that was coming). yes, judgement can be wrong if it comes with CONDEMNATION or a feeling of superiority, but God DEMANDS us to 'judge' or evaluate the actions of others and not participate if it is a sin.
synonyms for judgement include assessing, discern, appraisal, critic, review, evaluator, expert, authority, connoisseur, rate, rank, conclude, resolve; as well as criticize, belittle, and condemn.
while looking up bible verses related to judgement, i found this little gem in proverbs 31:9, 'open your mouth and JUDGE righteously...', showing that we are called to use sound judgement around others (the rest of the verse is talking about standing up for the poor and those who can not stand up for themselves) and to verbalize/speak up for what we KNOW is right, according to biblical principals. hebrews 5:14 states, 'but solid food belongs to the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.', the meaning of which is pretty clear to me. how can we know good from evil if we do not use judgement and use our judgement often?
other verses i found supporting 'judging' are (and i'm sure there are others out there):
**1 kings 3:9 - 'so give your servant a discerning mind so he can make judicial decisions for your people and distinguish right from wrong. otherwise no one is able to make judicial decisions for this great nation of yours.'
**proverbs 1:2 - 'to learn wisdom and moral instruction, and to discern wise counsel.'
**hosea 14:9 - 'who is wise? let him judge these things! who is discerning? let him understand them! for the ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but in them the rebellious stumble.'
**luke 12:56-57 - 'you hypocrites! you know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky, but how can you not know how to interpret the present time? and why do you not even on your own initiative judge what is right?' (this is direct anger about not analyzing our surroundings)
**john 7:24 - 'stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment.' (meaning that there is a right and a wrong choice)
**leviticus 19:15 - 'do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.'
i found a few good articles as well and i would like to share them with you (they include additional scriptures and logical rationale). i hope you enjoy them and they help you when faced with the daunting 'judge not, lest you be judged' argument.
http://searchwarp.com/swa7061.htm (pay special attention to the referance of 1 corinthians 5)
Lord, i pray to be humble when judging others for i know i am full of faults. grant me the wisdom neccessary to be Your discerning servant. amen