I have recently given this some thought – this term that is thrown around in Christian circles – ‘judgement’ and I think it is being used all wrong. I think a careful look at that term might reveal a little more than meets the eye.
The term ‘to judge’ actually means to make a ruling (ex: to sentence or to free) – in relations to the law (torah) or a law. In this country (or any country) we have a court system that makes rulings about aspects of the law – and keeps ‘law and order’ around us (ex: if you steal you might have to pay reperations). This is how I have also come to see the term ‘to judge’ within the bible, but on a more personable level.
Jesus teaches ‘do not judge…’ – and I think that means just that – don’t cast your sentences about the ‘teachings’ you follow upon others – to somewhat ‘punish’ them. But if you have to judge then measure yourself in accordance to the ‘teachings’ – and make that judgment a personal one (within yourself). In essence, judge the ethics/values you will adopt against a backdrop (teachings + experience).
I see many Christian folks using the term judgment wrongly (I think) when referring to judging situations – like we have the right to judge one of God’s creatures – over-ruling the Creator (who is the only real judge of any situation). No, I think we can make those judgements on values within ourselves and to go beyond that is quite atrocious (or can be). Like I have the right to call you ‘this or that’ because I have different values than you – I should just keep my yap shut and follow the ethics I believe and hope that others will emulate it (that’s how I measure it).
Our measurement is in regards to what we follow (teachings) and not in regards to what we say to others about what we follow (since in judging them we make no real in-ways). But Jesus was not too much a stickler on this – if you have to judge (sentence or free someone) – pick the path which is ‘righteous’ (mercy/forgiveness). Let’s start freeing people from the labels we put upon them – we had no right to do so. Let’s treat them how we want ot be treated – with equality and respect. Or as I have thought ‘I shouldn’t have to ask for your respect, if you respect yourself’.
I am not your judge, your jury, or your prosecuter…I am your friend. If you ask me about something I will tell you what I believe but that is the nature of discussion. What is not the nature of discussion is pointing fingers and making blatant calls on someone’s life – that’s making a label for someone to live down (which can really drag some people into various crisis’). Let’s free them.