Stop Being So Judgemental!

In secular culture, open-mindedness and tolerance are two inviolable codes of conduct. These ideas sound noble on the surface, but our world has changed their definitions and weaponized them against Christianity.
Ben Pierce

Ben Pierce is the Director of Come&Live! and is the younger son of David and Jodi Pierce. Come&Live!’s vision is to create a worldwide mission community that will provoke and inspire Christian artists to use their God-given creativity to revolutionize the world for Jesus.
Instagram: @nzbenpierce
Twitter: @benalanpierce

Website: www.steiger.org/benpierce


Just try to voice a strong opinion, and you will be berated with accusations of being judgemental (sounds kind of like a judgment, doesn’t it?).

According to D.A. Carson, open-mindedness “no longer means that you may or may not have strong views yet remain committed to listening honestly to countervailing arguments. Rather, it means you are dogmatically committed to the view that all convictions that any view whatsoever is wrong are improper and narrow-minded.”

Rather than remaining firm in our convictions, we have succumbed to the pressure and assimilated these false brands of “open-mindedness and tolerance” into our Christian faith. The result of this syncretism is a highly privatized Christianity with an eroded sense of absolute truth and a fear of making any judgments.

I see this in art, as well. Christian artists don’t want to be “judgmental” so they say nothing, or keep things as vague and ambiguous as possible to avoid this label. But, good art does make a judgment! As artists, we judge things to be good or evil, true or false, beautiful or ugly. Good art has a message, and a message always includes judgments.

I realize that this is a highly countercultural perspective, but is it biblical? The Bible seems to support both sides of the debate. In Matthew 7:1, Jesus simply says ‘do not judge”, apparently leaving little room for doubt. Yet elsewhere in Scripture, He is frequently seen rebuking and judging the Pharisees for their behavior. Paul, in the space of a few chapters of the first letter to the Corinthians, warns against judging others and then teaches the Church that they should judge sinful believers and leave judging those outside the Church to God (1 Cor. 5:12-13).

How can we make sense of these apparent contradictions? A balanced reading of the Bible suggests that there is a place for judgment, but it should be done with caution, and not before two critical steps are taken.

The first step is ruthless self-examination. It’s the “log in your eye vs. the speck in your neighbor's eye” principle (Matthew 7:3). We need humility in judgment. To be truly humble, we must ask God to show us our hearts on the very issue we are judging. In doing so, God will often reveal our own shortcomings, so that we will be appropriately cautious, gentle, and loving in removing the eye specks around us.

Secondly, we need to be very clear about our motivation. The Pharisees were experts in casting judgment, but they were harsh and legalistic. They judged others to parade their moral superiority. There is a place in Christian art for proclaiming the truth and for denouncing evil, but if we feel led to judge, the only right motivation is a heart of compassion. In the example of the woman caught in adultery, Jesus first cleared out her accusers before saying “go and sin no more.” His judgment of her former ways was motivated by mercy and the desire to see her life saved. Our judgments must come from the same place.

It is easy to join in with the culture of our day and denounce all judgments as wrong, but to do so is not to love people. If we allow the world’s false conception of open-mindedness to paralyze our ability to make godly judgments, at best our art will become meaningless wallpaper and, at worse, we will be guilty of standing by as the evil in our world destroys people’s lives.

If done gently and carefully, judging might just be the most loving thing you can do for someone.

Related items

  • Episode 168: That’s Great That God Changes People over There, but That Won’t Work Here!

    Does God work the same all over the world? Will people respond to the Gospel in the USA the same way they do in Russia?

    Ben and David talk about this reaction they seem to see all over the world where people think that preaching the Gospel works in other countries but won’t work in their own. They debunk this lie and look at why it seems that so many followers of Jesus around the world have turned away from just preaching the simple Gospel.

  • Episode 167: Raising Kids That Will Want to Follow Jesus.

    Are we raising our kids to believe something that is just a set of good habits and morals or are we showing them what it truly means to have a relationship with God?
    David shares his experience in raising two kids as a missionary and some of the important steps he took so that they would see what it really means to follow Jesus. 

  • Episode 166: Hell, Overseas Missions, F-Bombs, and Other Related Topics.

    In this bonus episode of the Provoke&Inspire podcast Ben and David answer questions sent in from our community. They look at what makes overseas missions unique and why it’s important, discuss the use of vulgar language and the importance of having a healthy revelation of hell.

  • Episode 165: We Need Broken Hearts More Than Clever Words!

    In this episode of the podcast, Luke returns and joins David and Ben as they dig into the topic of relevance.

    Due to high demand the guys take another look at the idea of how should followers of Jesus should respond to divisive issues in culture today.

    They ask, how can a Christian be equipped to engage and challenge secular culture without losing their heart for people and focus on the Cross?

  • Episode 164: Taylor Swift Thinks We're Bigots. Is She Right?

    In this unplanned episode of the podcast David and Ben discuss Taylor Swift’s new single “You Should Calm Down” and its scathing attack on the abuse of LGBT community at hands of Christians.

    The guys wrestle with how followers of Jesus can meaningfully engage with a culture that views us as bigots, intolerant, and homophobic. They ask, in what ways is Taylor Swift right, and how can we do a better job of proactively demonstrating the love and character of God to an increasingly hostile world.

    You won’t want to miss this important discussion!

Come&Live!
Sign up for our newsletter and receive a FREE digital copy of "Revolutionary, Ten Principles That Will Empower Christian Artists to Change the World" by David Pierce.

Country
Please wait