Escondido, CA

‘Setting the record straight’



How many times have you heard the words, “Don’t judge me” or “Jesus said ‘Don’t judge’ ”? I find it hard to imagine meeting someone who hasn’t heard them. Why is this? And does the Bible really teach that we’re not supposed to judge others?

The phrase originated from Jesus himself. In what is commonly called “The Sermon On The Mount” he said, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” (Matt 7:1).

First of all, I’ll tackle the question as to why these words are so common.

There are times when we will get called out on something. It’s a part of life’s learning process and it’s called “correction.” The thing is this: It’s just natural for us NOT to want correction because we’re sons and daughters of Adam and we inherited his nature – a fallen nature. (Danica and I don’t need to train our children to be disobedient, right? Rather, quite the opposite!) So, we as human beings find it most convenient to misinterpret that saying from Jesus, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged” and to use it as a means to get others off our backs, who are simply trying to help.

Did you catch that? I just stated that the saying is misinterpreted! The main point is that the Bible doesn’t teach that we are not to judge others; rather, that we should not judge hypocritically. (It’s important to read things in their proper context. Jesus did have more to say about the subject.)

I find it ironic that Jesus Himself was judging his listeners by telling them not to judge hypocritically! Clearly, we ARE called to judge; in other words, we are to discern, for example, how well an employee is performing at his job, or whether our children are telling the truth or not, or if a student is studying properly, or if a spouse is making a wise financial decision … or, well, you get the point.

Heaven forbid you hear the words, “Don’t judge me!” If you do, then perhaps you should judge yourself to see if you’re a good boss or not, or a good parent or not, or … Even better, ask for someone else’s honest opinion of you whom you have judged worthy of your respect.

I guess judging and being judged is a pretty big part of life.

— Paul and Danica Bartelme have been married for 22 years and have three children age 12 years and under. Jacob (12), Lily (11), and Luke (9). They’ve been residents of Escondido for 11 years and love Harley motorcycles and good music. They pastor Escondido’s very own Sanctuary Church.

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