Judgment vs. Judgmentalism

close up photo of a condenser microphone

Regardless of the common root, there is a world of difference between good judgment and judgmentalism. We must get the former while avoiding the latter.

Jesus addressed judgmentalism when he said, “Judge not, that ye be not judged” (Matthew 7:1). Now we all know that this passage is often twisted. The school teacher returns the quiz with four of the ten problems marked through with a red X. And the child says, “But, teacher, did not our Lord say, ‘Judge not.’” This is a perversion of the principle. But the routine twisting of this standard does not exempt us from obeying the untwisted standard. Our Lord said, “Judge not.” Stop condemning your brothers. Stop casting them into the outter darkness.

Jesus warned that the measure you use shall be used upon you. And you don’t have to wait around for this kind of thing to happen. Find a man who is judgmental of others and he will be just as judgmental of himself. He holds up condemnation-yard-stick no matter what he’s measuring. In its softer forms, we call it nitpicking. In its high octane forms, it is downright disdain. And we should put away all forms of it.

“But,” the judicialist responds, “Am I supposed to ignore the problem? They are not what they ought to be. I am not what I ought to be. The world itself is not what it ought to be.” The solution is not to ignore whatever is bent, broken, or out of place. The solution is to observe it and address it in light of the incarnation. Judgmentalism is judgment without the incarnation. And the incarnation is what will turn your judgmentalism into good judgment.

Christ saw what was deformed and he didn’t pick up a megaphone in heaven and shout down, “Shape up!” He came to us. He came to heal us and govern us like a Good Shepherd.