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judg·men·tal[juhj-men-tl] Show IPA
They also offered up this definition from the World English Dictionary:
|judgmental or judgemental (dʒʌdʒˈmɛnt ə l)|
|of or denoting an attitude in which judgments about other people's conduct are made|
So just based on the common definitions given, the question that begs to be asked is: Are Christians Judgmental?
And the answer is a resounding...YES!!!
Now before you assume too much about the answer and think that this is just another blog on where we as Christians show, through our unloving actions, what hypocrites we really are and how we justly are condemned by the world by not being more like Jesus...I'd like to offer a different perspective.
You see, Christians are judgmental because all people are judgmental. We make judgments on everything big and small. Whether it be menial, like what type of shirt goes with the pants I am wearing today, or profound, whether I believe that living together before marriage is a good idea (btw...it isn't). Making judgments for myself, and by extension others, is part of everyone's daily lives.
The larger problem exists with a culture that wishes to deny the reality that everyone is judgmental under the guise of tolerance. This guise is often used as a bully pulpit mainly to shut dissenting voices up. The mere mention of being "judgmental" to Christians has been used to send them scurrying to their politically correct talk so that we don't offend anyone with our judgment.
So let's move onto the real question that really needs to be answered:
Why are we judgmental?
Simply put, we are judgmental because we want what is best for ourselves, and if we are loving, others. However, this desire is often misinterpreted. Let me explain.
As a Christian, my belief is that those without Christ are living a life less than what God intended for them. Their sin has separated them from God and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. Jesus has come to take away that sin by living a perfect life and laying it down by dying on the cross and raising from the dead to show that He (and He alone) has the power over sin and death and grants that life to those who put their trust in His finished work (Romans 3:19-26).
As such, I have given up on my standard of living and exchanged it for Christ's. Through God's revelation, I discover His plan for my life and how I have fallen short of it. I have given up my right for my own personal judgment in favor of His perfect judgment (John 5:19-29). But that means judgment is still there, even if it is not my own.
What gets confused is that things like, living together, homosexual relations, getting drunk, cussing like a sailor, the greed of having more and more stuff or money, anger and violence issues, etc... are all symptoms of a larger problem. They are symptoms that I recognize are wrong because they do not align with the judgment I have made that Jesus is Lord. This judgment isn't just what I believe is best for me, but best for every single person because Jesus died for all. Therefore, I cannot call those actions good because God has made the judgment that those actions cause harm that separates those who participate in those actions from Him.
But when I choose to either not participate in those actions or state that those actions are wrong a different judgment takes place.
1 Peter 4:1-6 puts it this way:
Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does.
Do you notice their reaction? Those who don't believe in Christ "malign" those who do. In other words, they make a judgment that the life you are living in Christ is not as good as their own. They are just as convinced that their way of life is the right one, not just for them, but for you too. So to prove it, they hurl accusations about being judgmental and quote verses like Matthew 7:1 out of context to not only shut the believer up, but to prove that their judgment was right all along.
I believe that Christians should stop playing these games and cowering over charges of judgmentalism. Instead, we should embrace it and expose the fact that everyone is judgmental. If we do this in the right attitude of love, maybe instead of starting an argument, we might begin a meaningful dialogue that could change their judgment about Christ. But we won't do it if we don't get over our fear of making a judgment.