If you dare to venture outside of Christendom then you have probably heard people say something along the lines of, “Christians are so judgmental. Don’t they know Jesus said that you shouldn’t judge others.” Apparently, Barkley (A.K.A. Prince Charles) is familiar with this bed rock of all Christian doctrine as well. This is especially true in light of the recent political battles in California dealing with Homosexual Marriage. Again it is said, ” Why does the Christian Right have to judge us, why can’t they just let us be happy.”
On one hand, I think there is some validity in what they are saying. Paul somewhat fits that profile when he says, “For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside.” ( 1 Cor 5.12-13a) It is almost as if he saying that our business is the Church and not those outside of it. We need to be concerned with our purity not theirs.
But on the other hand, I think there is a difference when they say, “Jesus, said Don’t Judge” and when Jesus said,
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? ”
The common understanding of why being judgmental is so offensive is because everyone is equally right in what they do. But Jesus here is saying don’t be judgmental because everyone is equally wrong. It is the nobody is messed up vs. everybody is messed up. One interpretation of “thou shall not judge” leads to arrogance in autonomy and the other leads to humiliation and Mercy.
In the end I think people who aren’t Christian need to reevaluate what they think Jesus said. But I also think Christians need to practice what Jesus said and not legislate self righteousness.