I always lie. What's wrong with that statement?
If that statement is true, then it's false. If I always lie, then the statement I made would be true. But then it wouldn't be a lie. So I don't actually always lie.
It's called a self-defeating statement. It's a statement that doesn't live up to its own standards. You'd be surprised at how many statements we make that are self-defeating. That don't live up to their own standards, and therefore, don't make sense.
Let's look at one here: You shouldn't judge.
The person making that statement is making a judgment. They are judging you for judging... Doesn't make much sense.
I actually hear Christians make this statement fairly often. Many Christians believe judging is wrong.
The confusion comes from a passage in Matthew. Matthew 7:1-2 says, "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Christians tend to take this verse and run with it. They run like crazy.
The passage goes on to talk about the principle of the speck and the plank. Jesus says that if you have a plank in your eye, don't try to take the speck out of someone else's. He then says in verse five, "first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."
He says "do not judge," but then goes on to clarify what he means. He's saying that you do need to help your brother with his speck. You just need to be sure that you don't have a plank blocking your vision to do it.
This is pretty wise advice. It's really hard to see with a plank in your eye. If you try to go for his eye to get the speck while you can't really see because of the plank in yours, well, you'll probably poke somebody's eye out. And that's never good.
In this passage, Jesus is not condemning judging all together. He's saying "don't judge blindly."
Judge. But don't be judgmental. There's a difference. You can't avoid judging. You do it all the time. Teachers do it all the time. They are judging every time they grade a paper. Parents do it when disciplining their kids. You do it every time you decide a course of action, like picking a restaurant to eat at. You judge the restaurants by how good they are, the cost of eating there, and maybe a couple more variables. You then decide on what you think is best.
In reality, you need to judge. You need to discern right from wrong, good from bad. And sometimes you need to help a friend see that what they are doing is wrong. But make sure that you can see properly to do that. Don't make a rash judgment. Don't judge without all the facts. Don't judge harshly. Judge with gentleness.
Judge with truth. But also judge with love.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments.