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.

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

  • If the Apostle Paul Had a Band - Part 4
    In the ‘70s and ‘80s, punk bands were often hailed as radical or revolutionary, challenging social conventions. Some bands today like to wear “revolutionary” images and take political or social stands in their lyrics, as well. But if Paul had had a band, their commitment to the greatest cause of all would have outplayed any other band in history. If Paul had had a band, they would have radically poured themselves out, sacrificially serving the cause of the Gospel.
  • We'd Better Be Grateful

    This summer will be my eleventh consecutive summer touring with No Longer Music. I have spent quite a number of years of my life on the road performing. Despite late nights and long van drives, sleeping on church floors, and living out of a suitcase, I am more grateful than ever to do what I do.

  • ARTIST INTERVIEW: SHEDDING LIGHT ON DENS

    I recently chatted with Shaun Hypes and Brandon Osborne of the band DENS, who joined our family of artists earlier this year. We explored how their band came about, what their vision is, and some of the values that hold them together.

  • Episode 52: Road Rules. Are Your Toes Too Long?
    Everyone in a band hates each other… at least, that’s the stereotype we often hear. How can we deal with conflict in a band or even just in a group setting? How important is unity? The regulars will answer all your questions!! Well... maybe not, but they will talk about this issue and what they’ve learned through many years of experience in ministry. And this time on David’s Random Story, you’ll get to hear about the time that a punk put a rat on the shoulder of a pastor who was trying to impress the founder of YWAM.
  • Episode 54: Bonus Road Report #1
    David and Ben talk about what God has done though the first few shows of the No Longer Music tour and David shares a bonus Random Story.
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