Thou shalt not judge

By Archdeacon Fr. Michael McKinnon

“Thou shalt not judge” does NOT mean that “anything goes” or that all opinions are created equal. It also does not mean that I should not believe something (or in someone) with all of my heart or even express my belief publically, boldly and confidently; I happen to believe in objective truth. I am not judging you when I express my belief that you are wrong about something (or vice versa). For example: I believe that pornography is wrong…period. I believe that Nazi Germany was one of the most tragic periods in human history. I think those who believe that the holocaust never happened are ignorant (to say the least). I do not subscribe to the positions of the KKK, etc, etc,. I can believe that you are wrong about something and still love you (and vice versa). Judging someone (in the biblical context quoted above) is to fail to separate a person from their beliefs or actions (or even in-actions). It is to judge them as, “beyond redemption”. It is to believe that as human persons they are void of basic human dignity (which is innate in every person) or that they lack intrinsic value or any self-worth. I may not like someone’s positions, actions, words, etc, but I never (by His grace) believe them to be beyond redemption or judge them to be lacking basic value or worth as a person. I would help my enemy if I was in a position to do so. I pray for them too. Why? Because they are fallen, broken persons JUST like me. They have an intrinsic value and worth as human beings (even if they are considered “Monsters” by others). It is the old, “hate the sin but love the sinner” thing. I know so many people who have told me that orthodox Biblical Christians judge people (and alas, this is sometimes true). But I do not believe that it is generally true. It is my experience, that because many of us hold our beliefs strongly that we are perceived as “judging” those who disagree with us…that we have passed sentence upon them as persons. Not so. Judgment belongs to God. He alone knows the heart of every man. I don’t necessarily know if we have similar or different opinions on such things as: the sanctity of human life, homosexuality, Jesus as the only way to the Father, etc., etc. What I do know, is that you have a value and dignity and so do I. I also know, that (even if I don’t necessarily like you) I love you as someone created by and greatly loved by the Lord. If you are of such value to God that Jesus died and rose for you (and that is my belief), then who am I to say that you of no value?! If “to judge” someone meant simply to disagree with them and to express your opinion firmly, then we are all guilty of judging and should just stop talking. But that is not what it means. Anyway, something to think about… PS: If you took the time to read this whole thing, then I judge you really cool!

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