One of the all time classics is the movie The Princess Bride. Yes, I watch it. Yes, I like it. Don’t judge (haha see what I did there?) In the movie, a character named Vizzini continually uses the word “inconceivable” to describe a wide-variety of situations. After several uses, the character Inigo Montoya proclaims to his short friend, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” Thus solidifying one of the great lines in the movie and ensuring job security for meme creators everywhere.
I think the same could be said about the word judge- also found its other forms of judging and judgment; as well as the popular phrase stop judging me. Before we begin, I am well aware of what the Bible says on judging others. I am also well aware what the Bible’s charge to Christians to admonish with love (many of us need to work on the “with love” part of that equation). So, what is the issue with all the judging? Well, the problem lies in our lack of understanding of what judgment is. I have watched as the world both Christian and not have been throwing this word around like it is some kind of safe word. So, my response to this is much like Mr. Montoya’s- I do not think that word means what you think it means.
When we use that word to stop a disagreement, we miss out on some very important opportunity for growth. You see, today’s culture has related judgment with disagreement. These are not synonymous. They cannot be interchanged. When we do, we stifle a chance for healthy debate. I know this will come as a shock to many in today’s culture, but it is VERY possible to disagree with someone and still be friends. It is possible to disagree with someone and it not mean that they hate you or vice versa. Disagreement is a hallmark of true progress & growth. Simply saying that someone is judging you because they feel differently than you is, well….childish.
So what is the definition of judgment and how do we accurately identify it when it happens? Judgment occurs when two people disagree on something- then if you begin treating that person differently because of how they feel or what they believe, THAT is judgment and that is what scripture warns us against. A differing opinion on a belief or lifestyle is NOT the judgment, it is simply another view point. However, if we begin treating someone differently because they do not think or believe like us, that is when we are guilty of judgment.
So, as a Christian, how do I share and stand by my values when dealing with a world that does not agree with my beliefs? The same way I have done it for years now. I try to reflect Christ in all I do and say. Yes, I fail often. No, I do not back down, change, or compromise what I believe. But, I think I have a pretty decent resume of people who disagree with me on a regular basis that will attest they have never felt unloved or treated differently because of our differences. So, I will continue to proclaim Christ and His word. I will continue to love those who don’t agree with me. And I am going to encourage you to do the same. After all, changing people is not my responsibility- that job belongs to Christ. My job, my purpose, is to love everyone I can with all of their differences and introduce them to the love of a Savior that makes all things new and has the ability to save the world.
In Christ Alone,
Rev. Bro. Coach