Saturday, November 20, 2004


Yes, Jesus did instruct us not to "judge." (Mt. 7:1) But we must understand definitions for this verse to make any sense. And we must avoid fanaticism.

To "judge" the value, or ultimate value, of any person is to say that she is worthless, irretrievable, incapable of being "saved" from ignorance even by the limitless Love of God. Or, it is to say that she has committed an "unforgivable" sin -- one that even God's Love cannot cover, or forgive.

To "judge," then, is much more than forming, or expressing, an opinion. If I say that nazis or murderers,thieves, or bigoted people are not behaving constructively, even if I say that their behavior is harmful or "bad," that is not judgment.

That is the ability to tell right from wrong. That involves two other processes, discernment and positive discrimination. If you say that you do not want to live like a person who is greedy and evil, or that her greed and evil are harmful, that is not judgment. Judgment is forming an opinion about the value of a human being. Every human being has infinite value, for she has the Source of Love within her. This evaluation of her eternal worth, or her total worth, is judgment. This is what Christ, in Jesus, warned against.

Enlightened people, including Christians, are not expected to be naive, or even stupid. They are expected, as normal, functional minds, to see certain behaviors as evil or morally, ethically wrong. They are expected to turn away from these ideas, and often, from the people who uphold, support, or disseminate them. But to label a behavior as bad or counterproductive, even antispiritual, is not judgment. To label a person as hopeless, worthless, or evil is judgment. We do not have the right to so label a person, since the good or light within her will, someday, result in her salvation through God's grace.

No comments: