Don’t Judge Me

I don’t appreciate judgmental people. Especially if they’re self-righteously judging. We had a guest speaker last week at church and he talked about judging the situation and not being judgmental. Sounds like semantics, but it makes perfect sense. Along the same lines as hate the sin, love the sinner.

Here’s a very extreme example of what makes me want to cry. You may or may not remember Matthew Shepard, a homosexual boy who was heinously murdered because of his sexual orientation. While that’s horrible, that’s not where I’m going. Murder is horrible no matter what the situation and whether it’s labeled a hate crime or not. What was truly awful was the crowd across the street from his funeral. A group of so-called Christians held up signs which said things like “Matthew Shepard Is In Hell” and “God Hates Faggots”. I can hardly bring myself to type those words. I know God was weeping that day. (Please friends. Whether homosexuality is right or wrong is not up for debate here. It has nothing to do with my point so please don’t go into it in the comments. Thank you.)

My therapist friend, Cristie, and I talked about being judgmental at last week’s session Starbuck’s get together. I lamented mentioned the fact that when I first had that new Christian zeal I was very judgmental. Everything was black and white and you were either with us or against us. As I’ve grown closer to God I’ve realized it’s not that simple.

Just because I’m a Christian and I live by a certain set of standards does not mean everyone else does. And just because I’m a Christian does not mean I always, every minute of every day, live by those standards I hold so dear.

Paul used the example of the adulterous woman who was going to be stoned until Jesus said let those without sin throw the first stone. Everyone walked away. But the truly nonjudgmental Jesus did not judge her. She knew what she was doing was wrong. All he said was to go and sin no more. No speech on the evils of adultery. No hellfire or brimstone sermon. Just go on your way, but stop doing this stuff.

So Cristie and I are talking about this stuff and I’m all, “I used to be pretty judgmental”, when it hit me. I’m still freakin’ self righteous and judgmental! Oh, I have plenty of compassion for people who are doing things they ought not to be doing. But I judge the people who are judging them! Just like the people who were holding up those signs at Matthew Shepard’s funeral! I don’t believe anyone can argue that what they were doing was right. I’m not saying that at all. Obviously, they’re misinformed. Sadly, they hurt so many people that day. Even more sadly, they really hurt Christianity that day.

What it comes down to is this. We are ALL God’s children. He loves all of us, regardless of what we do. The concept that no sin is greater than any other sin is so hard to grasp. Which is why He’s God and we’re not. But that concept puts it all in perspective. I am no better than this person or that person, so what gives me the right to be judgmental? I don’t want them judging me for the sin in my life. And folks, there’s plenty.

Several years ago when Todd and I were in a Bible Study group with other couples I brought up something Madonna had done with a contemptuous sneer. A very good friend of mine said she felt sorry for Madonna because she just didn’t get it. How simple is that? She wasn’t saying what Madonna was doing was okay or acceptable. But she had compassion for her because she didn’t know any better.

So I’m going to try not to be judgmental of the people who are being judgmental. Because I’ve been there. It’s all a learning process. The most godly disciple in the world is still learning how to be like Jesus. So I give myself permission to accept that I don’t have all the answers, but I’m learning. Just like everyone else.


  1. Angry Woman on September 8, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    Bravo! Well said.

  2. DeeMarie on September 8, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    That was so well-written!! I think we can all fall into that trap of judgement. Whether it’s a lifestyle choice, how someone reacts to that choice, or how parents let their kids out of the house in certain attire. We don’t know the situation. We just know that they are adored children of our God and need love and prayer. Thanks for the great insight on a Monday!!

  3. Gretchen on September 8, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    I think I’m just going to stop blogging and send people over to your place from now on. That’s how much you speak for me, both on your politics (knowing that one side or the other isn’t the antiChrist–they just go at things from different perspectives) and this religion we call Christianity. Amen, amen, and you are my hero.

  4. Dev on September 8, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    Awesome post, Jen!

  5. Mollie on September 8, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    Ditto. Well said.

  6. Anonymous on September 8, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    As someone that has been on both sides of the judging, it is nice to know that people openly express that they are not judgmental. Because you don’t talk to someone for a while and you wonder if they hate you for what you’ve done. You hope not because you care about that person very much. Samantha

  7. Girl on September 8, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    Dude, you rock my socks. What a great post.

  8. beans on September 8, 2008 at 8:39 pm

    I think I will print that out and keep around with me as a reminder. You are cool!

  9. God's Guitar Girl on September 8, 2008 at 9:17 pm

    In the land of theology and such, we talk a lot about law versus gospel. The real, unnoticed problem for Christians throughout the ages is where the gospel becomes law. Basically, where we use our free gift of love from Jesus as the beginning of the arm’s-length list of “thou shalt not’s”, rather than realizing how many “thou shalt’s” we are now free to enjoy.Jews don’t see the kajillion laws they have to keep as a burden; in fact, they believe it is their joy and privilege to uphold the statues of their God. Why do Christians see the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule as shackles binding us to some theological box?There is definitely room for all sorts of religious interpretation — no one can say their beliefs or denomination is the most accurate or correct. So why do people turn the New Testament into such bondage??? So sad. By doing this, we take a huge Sharpie marker and blot out the words, “love,” “grace,” “mercy,” and so forth out of the gospel.Proof positive that we’re all works in progress, right?

  10. Shauna on September 9, 2008 at 2:54 am

    Well said, Jen. A little painful perhaps, but a good reminder to keep striving to be like Him.

  11. His Girl on September 9, 2008 at 3:44 am

    *stands up and applauds* fantastic! well said! great point! wonderful!

  12. CindyS on September 9, 2008 at 3:52 am

    Beautifully said! I find if I react to something with anger I am being judgmental. I think I look at most situations and just wonder ‘why?’ Why did someone find it necessary to take time out of their lives to hurt another person? What possible good did it do to write those signs? What were they thinking? Hopefully that isn’t judgmental and more about what makes people tick.And like you said, we are all growing and I can only hope that we all become more open as we get older. There is truth to that ‘with age comes wisdom’.CindyS

  13. Rosie on September 9, 2008 at 10:16 am

    Our lives, our choices never stop being a work in progress. Opening a mind and heart to learning is so precious and important. It is challenging enough for one to do this for themselves, but trying to be an example to their children… well it’s darn hard sometimes.Love, acceptance, kindness and compassion…hard work, huge dividends. Good food for thought and reflection. Thanks Jen.

  14. Cheryl Wray on September 9, 2008 at 11:52 am

    I think that this is one of the biggest struggles we all have. Just last night I was with my husband and another Christian friend of ours and we were talking about just this. How we find ourselves talking about other people, when we really don’t know really know the situation. What is our place to judge?Thanks for the great post, and the reminder!(and, btw…I tagged you on my blog. Aren’t you excited? lol)

  15. Lainey-Paney on September 9, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    this is a wonderful post, that just speaks to me today. I’ll carry it with me.

  16. radioactive girl on September 9, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    I agree with you on everything. This is beautiful, and a good reminder that no one is perfect and no one should be judging anyone else until they are.

  17. The Daily "B" on September 9, 2008 at 2:47 pm

    Oucha! I fall so short of being non-judgemental. Thanks for being so open about this.

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