When faced with the unpleasant but necessary task of correcting another's error, the common retort is "Who made you the judge?" or some slight variation on that theme: "Don't judge me!" or "Why are you so judgmental?" Such efforts to deflect criticism aren't new at all.

Thirty-four centuries ago, Moses was observing his countrymen in Egypt when he witnessed an assault. Confronting the aggressor, he asked, "Why are you striking your companion?", only to be rebuffed with the words: "Who made you a prince and a judge over us?" (Exodus 2:13-14).

Hundreds of years earlier, Abraham's nephew Lot was dwelling in the city of Sodom when his homosexual neighbors attempted to gang rape his houseguests. Lot implored them, "Please, my brethren, do not do so wickedly!" (Genesis 19:6), following which they remarked, "This one came in to stay here, and he keeps acting as a judge" (Genesis 19:9).

Since opposition to beatings and sexual crimes was dismissed as judgmentalism in ancient times, it should come as no surprise that the same tactic is employed by sinners today. People just don't like to be told they're wrong.

Exercising judgment is an essential element of godly behavior. Jesus did not forbid judging; He just taught how it is to be done: "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment" (John 7:24). Indeed, it is a defining characteristic of spiritual maturity that one is able "to discern both good and evil" (Hebrews 5:14).

Paul commented, "Do you not know that the saints will judge the world?" (1st Corinthians 6:2). Scripture teaches that Noah "condemned the world" when he prepared the ark to save his household from the flood (Hebrews 11:7), and Jesus said, "The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this
generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here" (Matthew 12:41). Whenever one does right, he implicitly condemns those who err.

By Bryan Matthew Dockens

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