You ought not judge!

How often do you hear this? Or variations of it, like “Don’t judge me!”

People love to use this bumper sticker philosophy, usually to justify something they are doing.

Frank Turek, co-author of I Don’t Have Enough to be an Aatheist and author of Stealing from God: Why Atheists Need God to  Make Their Case, addresses this is the One Minute Apologist video topic Didn’t Jesus Say We Shouldn’t Judge:

And in his book, Stealing from God: Why Atheists Need God to  Make Their Case, he also addresses this. (Bold emphasis mine)

You ought not Judge!

Isn’t that a judgment? Why are you judging me for judging?

Did Jesus command us not to judge? No.

Jesus said, “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. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plan in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye;, when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” [Matt 7:1-5 NIV]

Is Jesus telling us not to judge? No, He’s commanding us to take the speck out of your brother’s eye – that involves making a judgment. He simply tells us to get our own house in order first so we judge rightly, not hypocritically. In other words, Jesus isn’t telling us not to judge; He’s telling us how to judge. Elsewhere, Jesus tells us, “Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.” [John 7:24 NIV]

Just think about how impossible life would be if you didn’t make judgments. You make hundreds, if not thousands, of judgments every day – judgments between good and evil, between right and wrong, between danger and safety. You’d be dead already if you didn’t make judgments.

Everyone makes judgments. Atheists make judgments: They judge there is no God; that there is no objective meaning; that there is no objective morality (except when you treat them immorally, then they act like your behavior is objectively wrong!). Christians make judgments. Buddhists make judgments. Muslims make judgments. The only question is, Which judgments are correct?

Jesus made some very harsh judgments Himself. If you don’t think so, read  Matthew 23. Jesus excoriates the Pharisees, who were the religious and political leaders of Israel, for their immoral, unjust leadership. (Yes, Jesus got involved in politics!) Jesus called these leaders “blind guides,” “serpents,” and “vipers!” He blasted this caustic rebuke, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and see to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are!” [Matthew 23:15 NIV]

What? Sweet and gentle Jesus said this?

Yes, Jesus was not “Barney” Nor did He skip around saying, “This sermon brought to you by the letter ‘M.'” Jesus didn’t squelch the truth to make sure that everyone got along. He said His words would even divide families.

The endnotes here add: Jesus said, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law – a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.'” (Matthew 10:34-36)

Frank continues: (again, bold emphasis mine)

He made bold judgments and told the truth, often forcefully and directly. Of course Jesus was kind most of the time, but He also knew when to let it fly.

One more point: Have you ever noticed that when you compliment people, they never say, “Who do you think you are? You shouldn’t judge me! Stop being so judgmental!” See, it’s not judgment they find offensive, just judgments they don’t like. So when their behavior contradicts the truth, they trot out the contradiction about not judging to shut you up.