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What Does It Mean to Be Judgmental?

There is no unChristian in the world who needs to be told that Matthew 7:1 is in the Bible. It says, “Judge not that you be not judged.” That is the proof text for the repeated command from guilty people. Don’t you judge me? How dare you judge me? You don’t have any right to judge me. Don’t judge me. We all know that there is a command in the Bible not to judge. I don’t think as many people know that there are also commands in the Bible to judge. in John 12:57, Jesus says, “Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?” These are two verses. Listen, I’m telling you, I could fill up many, many, many podcasts with all sorts of Bible passages that talk about a right kind of judgment and all sorts of Bible passages that talk about a wrong kind of judgment. This week on the podcast, what I want to do is talk about that wrong kind of judgment. We know that when we say that somebody is being judgmental, or as my kids used to say, they’re being judgey. We know when somebody’s being judgey, or judgmental, we’re talking about the wrong kind of judgment. There’s a right way to make judgments. Jesus talks about that, as I just mentioned; in Luke 12:57, Jesus says that the saints will judge than nations, and we will judge angels. So there’s a right kind of judgment. We’re not going to talk about that. This week, we’re going to talk about when you are guilty of the bad kind of judgment, when you are guilty of judgmentalism, or of being judgey. Here’s what I want you to know, if you want to be sinfully judgmental, I’m going to tell you this week that all you have to do is five things. If you do these five things, or actually any one of these five things, then you will be guilty of the sinful kind of judgment that Jesus condemns. That he tells you not to do. In Matthew 7, he says, “Judge not that you be not judged.” So he’s saying, hey, don’t do this. This is there’s a kind of judgmentalism that you should not do.

Sinfully Judgmental: Be Harsh and Ungracious

The first way to be guilty of it is to be harsh and ungracious. If you’re a harsh and ungracious person, or you communicate to someone with harsh and ungracious words, then you’re guilty of this kind of judgmentalism. Jesus says, “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.” Jesus is saying we need to have a gracious, open spirit. When we talk to people, we need to have a gentle kind way, a large-hearted way a charitable way of communicating to people. And when we don’t, when we are harsh and ungracious. We are guilty of being judgmental, we might say something the right way, but we communicate it in the wrong way, and we become judgmental and guilty and wrong.

Sinfully Judgmental: Be Proud

A second thing, if you want to be guilty of sinful judgment, then you should be proud. You should be proud you should be harsh and ungracious first, and second, you should be proud. Jesus goes on in Matthew 7:3. He says, “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.” He says you are a harsh, ungracious judgmental person. You see that teeny tiny sin in the life of the person you’re judging. You don’t see the sin, the plank that’s hanging out of your own eye. You don’t see the large sin that is in your life. A judgmental person is a proud person who sees sin in the lives of others but doesn’t see sin in their own life and doesn’t recognize their own guilt before the Lord. Listen, if it’s very, very easy for you to see guilt in the lives of others and very, very hard and very, very rare for you to see guilt in your own life. You are guilty of the kind of sinful judgmentalism that Jesus talks about. If you want to be judgey, be harsh and ungracious, and be proud.

Sinfully Judgmental: Be Hypocritical

Then third, be hypocritical. This is related to the previous one, but it’s a little bit different. In the previous one, you’re proud you just don’t see it. But when you’re hypocritical, you are guilty, and you know that you are guilty, but you pretend that you’re not. Romans 2:1 says, “Therefore, you have no excuse, oh man, every one of you who judges for in passing judgment on another, you condemn yourself because you the judge practice the very same things.” We’re judgmental when we call out in others that which we know ourselves to be guilty. Romans 2:3, “Do you suppose, oh man, you who judged those who practice such things and yet do them yourself that you will escape the judgment of God?” You are judgey and judgmental when you don’t realize that judgment is coming for the sins you are doing that you call out in the lives of others. Some of the biggest and worst people who are guilty of sinful judgment are hypocrites. So if you want to be sinfully judgmental, just be harsh and ungracious. Just be proud. Just be hypocritical.

Sinfully Judgmental: Be Superficial

If you want to be guilty of sinful judgment, then be superficial. Judge a book by its cover. In John 7:24, Listen to what Jesus says. He says, “Do not judge by appearances. But Judge with right judgment.” Don’t just judge by appearances. Judge with the right judgment. Jesus says you need to judge. But if you’re going to judge, you need to have wisdom. And you need to see what is really there. And you must not judge a book by its cover. So many of us make a judgment based on what we think we saw and what we think we know. And more often than we care to admit, there’s just more there than meets the eye. I’ll tell you a story about this in my life that illustrates this. A few years ago, I was home alone with my youngest son, my wife and older kids were traveling in from out of town, and my youngest boy Connor got sick. And dear old Dad wasn’t exactly sure how to care for him the best. This is usually in the mom department. And I was trying to care for my son. I decided that he needed some chicken noodle soup. I went to a store near our house that sold hot chicken noodle soup, and it was a sort of serve-yourself. And I was trying to find where that was, I was trying to find where the bowls were, and scooped out this chicken noodle soup into this bowl. As I was scooping it, I get a phone call from my wife. She’s just landed at the airport; she needs to get picked up. And so now my crazy chaos of trying to get this soup back to this boy got amplified, is now my wife and kids are waiting at the airport. And I’m telling you, people, without even realizing what I was doing. I took that cup of soup, and I walked out of the store, and I got in the car, and I drove away, and I gave it to my son, and I raced to the airport, and I picked up the rest of the family, and I got back. Sometime later in the next day or so, I realized, do you know what? I walked out of that store, and I did not pay for the soup. I robbed the store blind from my soup with my soup. And I just felt terrible about it. And I got in the car and drove back to the store, and I spoke to the manager, and I explained the situation. I said I stole your soup, and I want to pay for it. And the lady said, sir, I can’t take your money. We don’t even have any way to do that. Just consider that our gift to you and your boy who was sick. That was very, very gracious to them. But here’s what I thought. I always think about that. I think if you just looked at the surveillance footage of me in that store, you would say right, there is a high-handed thief. And you would misjudge me. If that’s what you take, what you saw, you would miss judge me, and you would not understand that I was an imbecile. I just didn’t know. I just didn’t know which way was up. I was trying to care for my boy; I was trying to care for my wife and kids. And I got caught up in it, and I ran out the door without thinking about it. I did my best to try to pay for it after the fact, and the store wouldn’t take my money. But it’s a perfect example. If you had just seen that footage, you would say he’s a crook. But if you saw what was going on in my heart, if you saw what was going on in the situation, and if you saw my attempt to try to pay for it after the fact, you would say, well, hey, there was actually something a lot more going on there. That is a great example because, so many times, we make judgments on one slice of information. We have one side of the story; we have one page of the novel; we have one glancing perspective. And there are so many things that we don’t know. And it leads us to being superficial. And it leads us to being judgmental. We need to be careful before we call people out when there’s so so so many things that we don’t know. If you want to be judgmental, be harsh and ungracious, be proud, be hypocritical, be superficial.

Sinfully Judgmental: Be Unbiblical

And then, finally, if you want to be judgmental, be unbiblical. Make an unbiblical determination in Romans 14:5; the Bible says, “One person esteems one day is better than another. Well, another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.” He’s saying, hey, there’s wiggle room here, and in the Christian life, different people see things differently. We don’t die on the hill of those different things, but on what the Bible actually says. And if you’re going to be a person who dies on the hill of the wiggle room, the judgment comes to you in Romans 14:10, which says, “Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or why do you despise your brother? We’re all going to stand before the judgment seat of God.” He’s saying when you judge your brother over an issue that is not clear cut in Scripture, you’re taking over the Lord’s work, and you are despising your brother. He says, don’t do that. Don’t be judgmental. If you’re gonna die on a hill, die on a biblical hill, die on something that is chapter and verse, not on something that’s your favorite, your preference. So if you want to be judgmental, be harsh and ungracious, be proud, be hypocritical, be superficial, be unbiblical.

Of course, if you’re listening to this, you don’t want to be that kind of judgmental person. And so we need to seek. We need to pray to not be judgmental. We need to pray that God would make us charitable men and women who think the best of others, that we would be humble, that we would be seeing our own sins and not just the sins of others that we would not be hypocritical but live consistent lives and try to be in public the same as we are in private that we would not be superficial, but that we would seek to know as much as we can about a situation and that we would never be unbiblical, but that we would always when we’re going to call somebody out. We do it reluctantly, and we do it carefully, knowing that we stand on the truth of God and not our own opinions.