judge01I’m worried about some of my friends. They’re really good people, and I deeply value our relationships.

But I’m growing concerned that some of them may have been sucked into a mind-bending cult. They seem, well…brainwashed.

They don’t appear capable of thinking independently any more. Any attempt to engage with them on an intellectual level is met with a glassy-eyed stare and the chanting of their favourite new mantra.

And if you try to question or reason with them about this mindless mantra, you get a reaction similar to Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

And it seems to be spreading. Insidiously and relentlessly. For example:

  • Try telling a Christian guy that he shouldn’t be living with his girlfriend, or that they shouldn’t be having sex if they’re not married yet.
  • Try suggesting that drinking alcohol in moderation is okay, but drinking to get drunk is wrong. Or that developing various addictions might not be a good idea.

Cue the mantra.

Usually delivered with a self-righteous & dismissive haughtiness because now you are guilty of that most heinous and contemptible of all sins: you “judged” them.

They love to quote: “if anyone is without sin, let him cast the first stone”, but conveniently ignore that Jesus also said (in the same passage), “leave your life of sin” (John 8:2-11).

(What?!? Did Jesus just judge that poor woman, by insinuating that her adultery was “sin”?!?)

They are also quick to quote Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount: “Do not judge”, in addition to mentioning specks of sawdust versus wooden planks in our eyes (Matthew 7:1-5). But they seem immunized against the intellectual honesty of carefully considering what Jesus actually meant.

And the mind-numbing nature of their mantra makes it virtually impossible to point out — logically, intellectually, or theologically — that there is a big difference between exercising common-sense judgment and being judgmental.

If we were to say, for example, “human trafficking is evil”, we are judging. And by implying that those who engage in and profit from human trafficking are therefore also evil, we are judging.

Name any “justice issue”, and you are judging. You don’t have an option.

In order to call something a “justice issue”, you have to agree on what is acceptable, and what is unacceptable. What is justice, or injustice. What is right, or wrong.

You have to judge.

Which is completely different from being judgmental.

John Stott comments eloquently on the “don’t judge” section of the Sermon on the Mount in Christian Counter-Culture:

“In all of our attitudes and behavior towards others we are to play neither the judge (becoming harsh, censorious and condemning) nor the hypocrite (blaming others while excusing ourselves), but the brother, caring for others so much that we first blame and correct ourselves and then seek to be constructive in the help we give them.”

judge02 In the Christian faith, and for those who self-identify as followers of Jesus, it’s kosher to judge between acceptable and unacceptable, between right and wrong, between good and evil. Between righteousness (as defined by the Bible) and sinfulness (as defined by the Bible).

It’s the attitude of being judgmental that is the problem: the snidely self-righteous, holier-than-thou, look-down-your-nose-at attitude best evidenced by Jesus’ most notorious nemeses: the Pharisees. The attitude that takes delighted glee in pointing out the failures of others (while excusing or ignoring their own).

Does anyone have any experience with what type of intervention would be effective to begin de-programming those who have been brain-washed by the “judge not” cult? (I would assume that pointing out that they are being judgmental when they accuse others of being judgmental is probably a waste of time.) Because this goose-stepping, brain-sucking mantra is a (dare I say) diabolically nasty one.

Coffee with Jesus (Radio Free Babylon)