Bryan Fischer
How to handle the whole "judge not lest you be judged" thing
By Bryan Fischer
January 9, 2013

Follow me on Twitter: @BryanJFischer, on Facebook at "Focal Point"

It used to be that the only Bible verse everybody knew was John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son that whosoever believes in him might not perish but have everlasting life."

Well, those days are history. The only Bible verse you can count on everybody knowing today is Matthew 7:1: "Judge not, lest you be judged." That snippet has turned by the left from ancient wisdom into one of those cliches that Jonah Goldberg writes about in his book, The Tyranny of Cliches, a cliche that is used to terminate debate and discussion, not foster it.

Leftists think it's their trump card. Anytime a social conservative expresses criticism of, say homosexual behavior, the secular fundamentalist throws the "judge not" card on the table, declares game over, and smugly dares his vanquished opponent to breathe another word.

Here's the problem. A leftist cannot use that argument without condemning himself.

If judging other people is wrong, then, to personalize it, he has no moral right to judge me, which is exactly what he is doing by condemning me for criticizing deviant sexual behavior.

His whole argument is predicated on his mindless conviction that passing moral judgments on other people is, well, immoral. But then he is guilty of the very thing of which he charges me. For he is passing a very severe moral judgment on me while blindly arguing that passing severe moral judgments is dead wrong.

As Paul puts it in Romans 2:1 "Therefore, you have no excuse, O 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."

It's worth noting in passing that whatever Jesus did mean by "judge not lest you be judged," he did not mean what leftists think he meant. The man who said, "judge not" was busy in other conversations calling the Pharisees a "you serpents, you brood of vipers" (Matthew 23:33) and children "of your father, the devil" (John 8:44). I would venture to say that anyone who calls someone else the spawn of Satan is passing some kind of judgment on them.

So, whatever Jesus meant by "judge not," he clearly meant something different than what secular fundamentalists wish. I would say to a leftist, in the immortal words of Inigo Montoya, "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

So here is how a conversation about "judge not, lest you be judged" ought to go:

SF (secular fundamentalist): "But Jesus said we're not supposed to judge other people."

Me: "So you're saying that it's wrong to judge other people."

SF: "Exactly."

Me: "So why are you judging me, right now?"

SF: "Uh, uh, uh...Well, that's a standard for Christians, so you're being a hypocrite."

Me: "So you're saying that the 'judge not' standard is just for Christians?"

SF: "Well, yes."

Me: "So in your worldview, it's only wrong for Christians to pass judgment on the behavior of others. So does that mean, then, that somebody who is not a Christian is free to pass judgment on homosexual behavior all he wants?"

SF: "Well, no, that would be wrong. Nobody should pass judgment on anybody.."

Me: "Ah, so it's wrong according to your own system of morality to pass judgment on another human being."

SF: "Yes, exactly."

Me: "So we're back to where we started: why are you passing judgment on me?"

SF: "Uh, uh, uh...let me get back to you on that one. I have to go off and try to figure out why I'm not a flaming hypocrite first."

(Unless otherwise noted, the opinions expressed are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Family Association or American Family Radio.)

© Bryan Fischer


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