If our society could list one virtue as above all the rest, it would definitely be this . . . Don’t judge! On the face of it, it sounds rather noble. But for any thinking person it sounds absolutely ridiculous. I think the confusion comes in because people confuse the word condemnation with the word judge. In this confusion they step in and demand that no one every judge anyone else for any reason. That kind of thinking is simply comical in its futility.
“Why?” you ask? Because we all judge everyone, all the time! We must do this to survive. For example, I judge my children’s friends, as some are better than others. I judge local pastors to decide where to go to church. I mean, do you really want a pastor of low moral character? And if you don’t judge him, how do you know what kind of character he possesses? How do you know unless you judge? In day to day life, I judge subcontractors before they work on my house, asking if they are honest or dishonest, hard working or lazy, etc. It is called references, an entire system built around the reality that we all judge people all the time for our own safety. Give me three references so I can call and have them judge you so I can judge you before I hire you. It is a necessity of life.
I judge my dentist, he needs to be a man of integrity because I can’t see a thing he is doing back there and there is real financial motivation to do additional work, right? I judge my doctors, wanting to understand if they are both competent in their area AND trustworthy. I judged the teenage girls who used to babysit for us, I judged their families before I even asked them to babysit. You get the point.
There is even an entire website, ratemyprofessors.com, where the generation of millennials, who swear they never judge anyone, all go online and judge their professors, rather harshly from what I hear. I have often wanted to hack into the site and post a message that said, “Don’t Judge!”, to see if they could connect the dots and shut down the site. Would they stop? NO, judging helps them, it actually helps the professors if they are on any merit based system. In fact, judgement helps everyone. Otherwise we have to make every decision about every other human being with absolutely no historical information, which would be horrific.
I could go on with more examples than one can count, but I think that is plenty to show that this whole cultural lie of “I don’t judge,” or “It is not my place to judge,” is laughable and untenable in reality. We all judge, and in fact, we all have to judge in order to survive.
So given these facts, why is our culture so obsessed with the ethos of don’t judge? Don’t judge me bro, only God can judge me, you are not my judge, etc. My theory is that we are reticent to admit that we judge others because our sloppy thinking cultural icons have dictated to us that they don’t want to be judged by anyone for anything and therefore, all judging of another person is now wrong. Well, I am judging their logic and analytical abilities and my personal judgement is they lack both.
So don’t get sucked into repeating silly mantras that are verifiably false just because they are the slogan of the day. Be courageous, be different. The condemnation of another person as totally irredeemable and unforgivable belongs to God and God alone, but judging another’s character is no sin. In fact, it is highly recommended because liars lie, cheaters cheat, thieves steal and manipulators manipulate, and you can’t afford to be constantly fooled by them! As Jesus stated 2,000 years ago, “You will know them by their fruits . . .,” meaning you will know them by their actions. (Matthew 7:16) So go ahead, judge me bro, just be careful to use the same standard on me that you want used upon yourself.