Stop judging. Jesus taught that, so it’s really important to stop judging. Judge. Jesus said we should judge right after He said not to judge, so it’s really important to judge. How can these things be?
It turns out that the Lord means for us to stop judging “by mere appearances” and, instead, “judge with right judgment” (John 7:24). That makes sense. We’ll make wrong judgments if we jump to conclusions, but we’re going to need to make a lot of judgments just to exist in this world, so the real issue is our moral obligation to make right judgments.
So, that leads to the question I would like to address: “Are Christians judgmental?“. I’m writing this article to those who answer “yes”, because, in my judgment, those who accuse Christians of being judgmental are themselves judging by mere appearances. If you say “Christians are judgmental”, here’s why you should stop with that, and receive the good news that follows.
To prove the point that judging is necessary, consider the judgments you are making right now as you read. “Do I like this article? Is it worth reading, or is it too long? Do I care what this guy has to say?”
Rest assured, you began forming your judgments about this article the moment you began to read and synapses began firing in your brain. It’s likely you even had your mind made up about this article—whether or not you generally approve of it—before you began to read it, based upon who the author is to you. If I were your pastor, and you voluntarily sat under my teaching of God’s Word on a weekly basis, then you would be largely predisposed to judge this to be a trustworthy article. But my intended audience here is those who happen to think that Christians tend to be judgmental people, so some of your judgment of this article is based upon judgments you formed about me as a Christian even before you started reading the article.
Now, to label someone “judgmental” is to criticize their character. The adjectival form of the noun “judgment” is not merely a statement of the fact that the person makes judgments, which is only a function of having a brain. To call someone a “judgmental Christian” doesn’t mean that this Christian is able to decide between different brands of orange juice at the grocery store. It means that this Christian has the morally repugnant tendency of looking down upon others who hold views different than their own. Judgmental connotes a major character flaw.
So, for the sake of all that is tolerant and woke, may I ask you to open your mind for this 5-minute read? Perhaps the narrative that “Christians are judgmental” is a mere judgement by appearance. If, in your judgment, Christians are judgmental, I’m asking you to not follow your heart on this one (Numbers 15:39), but read on, because the narrative isn’t right, and I can prove it. If you’re concerned to not be judgmental yourself, stop judging by mere appearances and judge with right judgment.
Let me begin by agreeing that Christians make a lot of unpopular judgments:
Non-Christian religions are false.
LGBTQ behaviors are sinful.
Heterosexual behaviors outside of marriage are sinful.
Socialism is evil.
Abortion is murder.
These judgments are hard, but are Christians judgmental for making them? Before shouting “Yes!” at your cell phone or computer, reserve your judgment until you’ve heard my side of the story. Due process demands that you do. “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him” (Proverbs 18:17). You’ve heard the accusation of judgmentalism levied against Christians who hold these views, but are you willing to hear our defense? We agree that these judgments are hard, but hard is not the same as judgmental.
Second, before I offer my defense, consider the kinds of judgments I am not defending:
All denominations besides mine are false.
Tattoos are inherently sinful.
All dancing is from the devil.
Drinking alcohol is always wrong.
Other races are lesser.
Sadly, there are Christians who make these judgments. That doesn’t make them judgmental. It makes them wrong—in some cases disgustingly so. I’m not here to defend them. Among the thousands of born-again evangelical Christians that I know, I can’t think of one who believes any of those 5 things. So, it’s a safe assumption that such judgments are not coming from us but are vestiges of an imperfect past or are caricatures of the kind of judgments the Christians of today make. Let’s be honest, it’s judgments like the first 5 I listed—and especially the LGBTQ one—that has the world calling Christians “judgmental” today.
Those two caveats stated, my defense to the charge that Christians are judgmental rests on the logical assertion that all moral judgment requires a standard, and Christians have the right one. To condemn anything as wrong in any way, whether it be racist, bigoted, dishonest, hateful, judgmental, or whatever, is to say that it fails to meet the standard. But by what standard are we to judge morality?
John Locke advanced the enlightenment view that has shaped the West—namely, that human reasoning—basic common sense—gives us the standard. Democracy builds on this idea by claiming that the moral sensibilities of the majority will be the standard upon which a moral society can be built. I support democracy, but after the West has just experienced the bloodiest hundred years in human history, and now with opinions of moral right and wrong more divided than ever, is the Lockian standard of morality really tenable?
Whereas enlightenment thinkers begin with the fundamental assertion that morality is based on human reasoning, Christians begin with the Bible as our moral compass. That is not to say that logic has no place in our moralizing. We believe that knowledge of right and wrong was built into the human conscience (Romans 2:15) when God made us all in His image (Genesis 1:26). But something went drastically wrong when humankind fell from innocence (Genesis 3), so the human conscience has become far from infallible. There are noetic effects to sin. We all have fallen natures, so even our ability to reason about morality is fallen, hence our need for God to tell us what is right and wrong. Since we’re made in the image of God, consciences can dole out flashes of light, but because we’re fallen creatures that are prone to corrupt thinking, only special revelation from God can light up the room.
Into the darkness of depraved humanity, God spoke His Word through the writings of prophets and apostles. That special revelation—the Old and New Testaments of the Bible—gives us God’s standard of morality. It is objective truth.
Now, before you give up on this argument for the simplistic reason that you don’t believe the Bible, consider the alternative. Apart from there being this God who has spoken, there is no such thing as morality. If humans are evolved fish that emerged without purpose from a primordial soup, then how one fish treats another fish doesn’t matter at all. Nothing is morally right or wrong in any objective sense. Furthermore, if there is a God, but that God has not spoken, then humanity would remain in just as much darkness as would be the case if there were no God at all. God’s character would in that case be the objective standard, but having no access to know what that standard is, humanity would still be groping in the dark.
So, my argument is that the Bible is the true standard of moral authority. Moreover, raising the stakes on this proposition, if the Bible were not the standard revealed by God, then there would be no knowable standard and there would be no basis for anyone ever making a moral claim. It would be meaningless to shame someone for racism, sexism, bigotry or judgmentalism. There could be no such thing—not objectively speaking. There could only be the emoting of walking fish, or a crybaby saying “I don’t like what you do”. Without the Bible, there is no standard.
If you really hate the judgmental things people say, then you better fall in love with the God who speaks. Without His Word, there is no standard, so you’re standing on mush as you push against the moral evils you see in this world. This world will feel like one frustration after another to you unless you get this footing.
For Christians to make judgments that non-Christian religions are false, LGBTQ behaviors are sinful, heterosexual behaviors outside of marriage are sinful, socialism is evil, or abortion is murder is merely to exposit what the Bible obviously says. The Bible is absolutely clear about each of these things. Anyone who disagrees about that can contact me to set up a public moderated debate where the folly of your disagreement will be shown for what it is. But the point is that Christians are merely agreeing with the standard. To make judgments based on the Bible is not judgmentalism but fidelity to the God who spoke. The standard-less accusations of those who disagree now carry the burden: By what standard are you assessing anything as morally wrong?
Therefore, seeing as how Christians are not judging by mere appearances, but are making right judgments based upon the standard of the Bible, Christians are not judgmental for espousing our unpopular views.
Those who make accusations against Christians in this regard are offered forgiveness for this on the basis of the shed blood of Jesus. Repent of this mistreatment of God’s children. Repent of violating and disparaging the law of God. Repent of autonomous reasoning that places oneself on the throne and regards the God who made you as irrelevant, like some relic of the past.
Jesus allowed Himself to be brutally beaten, mocked, ridiculed, hung upon a cross, and left to die in order to pay the penalty of sin on behalf of anyone who will turn to Him in repentance and faith. Place your faith in the resurrected Christ who offers salvation to all who repent and believe.
This offer is also extended to those who claim to be Christians but who reject the absolute authority of the Bible. It is impossible to retain Jesus while denying His Word. If His Word does not abide in you, then you do not remain in Him (John 15:7).
Perhaps you think that you became “woke”, while “fundamentalists” remain asleep. You fancy yourself to be more sophisticated and mature than “them”. But when you cut loose from Biblical authority, you lost with it everything that is genuinely Christian. How do you know that the reason for Jesus’ dying was to make propitiation? How do you know that He rose for our justification? How do you know anything about Jesus or His way of salvation apart from the Bible? You don’t. You are adrift. You no longer have a standard. You are in the same boat as the God-haters. You are adrift at sea with them, even if you think you’re retaining your Christian “tradition”. Unless you repent, you have no part with the Lord Jesus Christ.
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The echo chamber of the world claims that Christians are judgmental. I ask those who make that claim to stop judging us by the subjective baseless preferences of your own random moral compass. Stop judging by mere appearance and make a right judgment.