‘Do not judge’ is a standard shouted out from the rooftops of academic bastions and from the remotest kitchen-tables alike, because in today’s culture, there is apparently no sin greater than to be judgmental. Any attempt to pass judgment on what you see around you is quickly dismissed as immature. And if you are in the business of being a peddler of religious philosophy, better be careful with what you say. And so even when you come into contact with the deplorable, anything apart from a stoic acceptance is rejected as unacceptable. Oops! Did I say ‘deplorable’—?
How do we approach this call not to judge? First, it is important to realize that you cannot say anything substantial without some judging because the definition of truth requires exclusivity which is not possible without judging some things as good and others as bad. In fact the person who says, ‘Do not judge’ does make a judgment by saying that those who judge are wrong!
Second, the secular media that sings the ‘Do not judge’ song when the Christian viewpoint is preached, scarcely blinks an eye when the same Christian viewpoint is condemned. Such a Pharisaic interpretation of ‘Do not judge’ does little to promote discussion on issues, which alone can bring clarity.
The religiously inclined would quote Jesus’ words, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged” (Matthew 7:1). But unlike today’s cultural scholars who attempt to misuse that command to do away with any attempt to restrain evil or make a moral distinction between choices, Jesus’ command was aimed to do neither of these but to inspire truthfulness in his listeners rather than adhere to hypocrisy in their lives.
In fact, immediately after raising an outcry of hypocrisy in judging others, Jesus goes on to say, “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs—-” (Mat 7:6). It is a call for the disciple to be careful with dispersing his words and works, the basis for that decision being a judgment of his listeners as to whether they belong to the category of ‘dogs and pigs’ (sounds terrible, but can’t really change the Biblical description), who would not value their message; in contrast to those who would gratefully receive and value the richness of what was preached.
So next time, you encounter the injunction, ‘Do not judge’, think again. Perhaps, the more appropriate response would be, ‘Do note, and then, judge’ and in the process become a spokesman for the truth, of course being careful not to be a hypocrite while doing so.
Feel free to judge this article and leave a comment!
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